CJI turns defensive on Modi's court holidays remark

Do you think we go to Manali or some other hill stations to enjoy ourselves, says CJI

GN Bureau | April 25, 2016


#CJI   #Judiciary   #Chief Justice of India   #TS Thakur   #NJAC  


he debate over the practice of summer vacations in Indian judiciary system was once again raked up when Chief Justice of India Tirath Singh Thakur stood in a defensive mode against prime minister Narendra Modi’s comment on reducing annual holidays of judges to help reduce pendency.

In a joint conference of chief ministers and chief justices of high courts held in New Delhi on April 24, Modi in an unscheduled speech mentioned that he has attended the same conference several times and heard speeches as Gujarat CM. He said speakers have kept aside his suggestion to reduce their annual holiday to help reduce pendency.

Meanwhile, during the conference, Justice Thakur, who made an emotional appeal to Modi in increasing the number of judges to clear the national backlog made a strong remark saying that Modi's “advice should be to the bar.”

“Do you think we go to Manali or some other hill stations to enjoy ourselves? Let me first tell you it is only three week’s break. Who will write the judgments, especially the constitution bench judgments? My brother judge (Justice J S Khehar) heard the NJAC during the break and then took a vacation to write the judgment,” said Thakur in a press conference after the event.

He said, “I am glad I am still alive after 23 years as a judge. But I must tell you it is a very stressful job. You have to take a break to keep your sanity.”

Even former chief justice VN Khare told Governance Now, “Vacation is a time for judges to think about the nitty-gritty of some crucial cases.”
 “Amid all the criticism, we are failing to understand that the judiciary needs to be strengthened before new legislations are introduced. Every time a new legislation is passed in parliament, we need to study its effect on the functioning of the judiciary. Ironically, this is nowhere taken into consideration. Perhaps we are struggling with heavy pendency of cases,” he said.

Anish Dayal, a supreme court lawyer said, “Though critical, the issue is subjective as well. Judges and lawyers should not be looked from the spectacle of other professions. Their job is unique in itself.”
 
Apparently, there are two main factors in the debate over the summer vacation - pendency of cases in the courts and the need of the judiciary and the legal fraternity to take a break from the overburdening workload.

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