To be on vacation or not to be is the question

CJI, PM revive the debate over the colonial tradition of summer breaks in judiciary

archana

Archana Mishra | April 25, 2016


#TS Thakur   #law   #courts   #Judiciary   #Narendra Modi  


The debate over the practice of summer vacations in the Indian judiciary has been reignited after the 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 court held in New Delhi on April 24, Modi in an unscheduled speech recalled what he had said during one such conference he had attended as Gujarat CM. “Once I said how about increasing the working hours of courts? How about reducing vacations? I invited trouble. During lunch break, many judges caught me and asked me, ‘How can you say so?’ ”, said Modi.

CJI Thakur replied to the PM’s remarks. In an informal interaction with the media later, he said, “Do you think we go to Manali or some other hill stations to enjoy ourselves? Let me first tell you it is only three weeks’ break. Who will write the judgments, especially the constitution bench judgments?” The Indian Express quoted him as saying that the PM should instead urge the lawyers to come forward to argue in vacation as judges are always ready to sit during the break. “His advice should be to the Bar.”

The CJI’s stance on court holidays was a step back from what he said on March 19 while inaugurating the new Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court. He then spoke of taking up some work even during the vacation (from May 16 to June 28 this year).  He said, “I would suggest that if the counsels of both parties are willing, then I would request the chief justice of the high courts to allow such hearings during the summer holidays and would also request judges to hear and finalise these cases.”

Time and again, many have spoken in favour of curtailing or doing away with summer vacations. However, the executive and the judiciary have failed to reach a consensus in breaking a practice incepted during the colonial rule.

A legacy of the British era, the court used to sit only for five months since most of the judges were Europeans and would leave for England when it got unbearably hot for them here in India. Over the years, the legal framework has changed though. The apex court enjoys a summer vacation of close to two months from mid-May while high courts remain close for one and a half month and district courts for a fortnight.

The law commission, in its 230th report – on judicial reforms, recommended that the vacation period of all the courts could be shortened by 10-15 days.  It recommended extending the working hours by half an hour. But, the report is gathering dust. 

The question, however, remains whether the practice of summer vacation is appropriate in the present context or not. And does the vacation serve its purpose at different levels of judiciary? Two main factors in the debate over the summer vacation are the pendency of cases in the courts and the need of the judiciary and the legal fraternity to take a break from the overburdening workload.

Comments

 

Other News

Climate actions being implemented to deal with impact of heat waves

India’s climate actions cut across various sectors and are being implemented through various programs and schemes of different union ministries, departments and state/ union territory governments.  The government of India through concerned ministries and departments organises workshops, exhibiti

Banks must hear borrowers before declaring their accounts as frauds: SC

In a judgment with far-reaching implications, the Supreme Court has held that the civil consequences of an account being declared as fraud under the Reserve Bank of India (Frauds Classification and Reporting by Commercial Banks and Select FIs) Directions, 2016 or its Master Directions on Fraud amount to ci

India’s forest cover increases by 5,516 sq km in four years

The Dehradun-based Forest Survey of India (FSI), an organization under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, carries out the assessment of forest cover biennially since 1987 and the findings are published in the India State of Forest Report (ISFR). As per the latest ISFR 2021, there is a

Steps taken to meet higher power demand of April-May

While the average growth of energy requirement in the country for 2023-24 viz-a-viz 2022-23 has been estimated as 4.9%, the months of April and May have been projected as high demand period. During the current year, the peak demand is expected to be around 229 GW during the summer period. The government ha

Millets to make comeback in army ration after half a century

As the UN has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets, the Indian Army has steered introduction of millets flour in the rations of soldiers. This landmark decision will ensure troops are supplied with native and traditional grains after over half a century, when these were discontinued in favour

Central Bank Digital Currency has game-changing potential

When discussing digital currency, you might think of one or two well-known varieties. There is the digital representation of currency that you access with mobile and online banking services. This currency is the liability of a commercial bank. There is also cryptocurrency, a digital medium of exchange issu

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter