New rule comes into effect on August 19
GN Bureau | July 22, 2014
When chief justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha had recently proposed a 365-day working of the courts in view of the ever-increasing crop of cases leading to long pendencies, it was met with resistance by the lawyers’ community.
However, on Monday, the supreme court amended rules to cut short its vacation from a maximum of ten weeks to seven weeks.
The new rule that will come into effect on August 19, have been brought through a notification called the SC rules, 2013, which replaces the SC rules, 1966.
Earlier, justice Lodha had sought feedbacks from chief justices of the high courts on the 365-day working calendar. In a letter to them, he pointed that the apex court worked for 193 days in a year while the high courts worked for 210 days and trial courts for 245 days. Lodha suggested in the letter that judges shall take leaves according to their convenience instead of court vacations. He had further suggested that by the end of September every year, judges should indicate their holidays, according to which the registry could list their sittings.
Lodha wrote that judiciary has become an essential service provider such as hospitals, electricity or water department and it cannot go for longer vacations.
In 2009, the law commission of India had also made recommendations to curtail the vacations in courts by 15 days.
In December 2013, former law minister Kapil Sibal had told the Lok Sabha that there are more than 32 million cases pending in the Indian courts. This, despite the fact that over 1,000 fast track courts established for speedy trials disposed off close to 3.2 million cases in the past.
The apex court cutting short its vacation will set an example for the high courts too, say experts.
Manish Sisodia, Deputy CM, Delhi
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