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

The perils of metro roads – A Delhi/NCR context

The anxiety and chaos that we face on our city roads are endemic, dangerous, and deadly. It emerges from a combination of too many vehicles, road conditions, ineffective traffic controls, poor planning and lack of innovative corrections, loose enforcement, and lacking traffic discipline in the commuters, t

‘Classified’, a scintillating expose of the ISRO spy story

Classified: Hidden Truths in the ISRO Spy Story By J. Rajasekharan Nair Srishti Publishers, 280 pages, Rs 350 The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was rocked by a spy case in 1994, taking down in its wake six persons, including S. Nambi Narayanan. The

If Rahul is in race to prove himself a better Hindu, our efforts have paid off: Ram Madhav

Ram Madhav, a member of the RSS National Executive, has said that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi proudly proclaiming to be a better Hindu is a welcome step and the opposition’s newfound claim that their Hinduism is superior to the Hinduism of RSS is the new competition in India.   &nbs

SRE is a mindset

In 2010, I attended a self-development program called ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’.  This program deeply impacted me, and I underwent a life-changing experience. Stephen Covey writes, “The way we see the problem is the problem.” We must allow ourselves to undergo p

“But for Nehru’s non-alignment, India would’ve been where China is today”

Dark Secrets: Politics, Intrigue and Proxy Wars in Kashmir By Iqbal Chand Malhotra Bloomsbury, 277 pages With his latest work, ‘Dark Secrets’, scholar and media personality Iqbal Chand Malhotra continues the investigation he began with

Maharashtra schools to reopen on January 24

Maharashtra has announced the reopening of schools for classes 1-12 from January 24 with Covid protocols. Education minister Varsha Gaikwad said on Thursday that the government will reopen schools for classes 1-12th with Covid protocols from January 24. “We have also decided to open p

Visionary Talk: Ram Madhav, Member Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh with Kailashnath Adhikari


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter