Judiciary, as one of the pillars of democracy, holds great responsibilities to govern the justice and injustice in the society through its functioning. Therefore, the vacations of Indian courts play a major role in the better functioning of the Indian judiciary.
Independence of the Indian judiciary is the core element of the Indian constitution which can neither be taken nor be amended by any of law or act passed by the government. Judiciary is its own boss which has to look after and protect the sanctity of justice among the masses or citizens. Judiciary of India’s body works throughout the year but also manages to have the summer vacations along with the national holidays and Sundays throughout an accounting year.
Judicial independence is the bulwark of our system, a defensive wall that adds soul to the Indian Constitution. This wall needs to stand firmly and function smoothly. Vacations are also part of their working duration. Seven decades after independence, the system of long vacations for courts is a practice introduced by the British rule in India to provide or privilege their judges, ample time to travel home and back to work. Interestingly, the courts themselves don’t know the initial stage of the vacation system’s beginning.
How less Indian Judiciary functions?
According to the current statistics, the vacation period is decided by both the Supreme Court and the High Courts in India. High courts lay down the leave period of the sub-divisional and district courts. An RTI filed earlier revealed, the judicial functioning of Supreme Court is for a limited number of days, its registry works like government-offices during long court-vacations as the Supreme Court has just 193 working days a year for its judicial functioning, the high courts function for 210 days and trial courts for 245 days.
This has been a matter of concern for the judiciary legacy where they want to serve masses on one hand but also rightfully desire to live their own lives. Back in 2013, the SC delivered a notification regarding the vocational limit stating that the summer vacations by SC should not exceed 10 weeks. Note that before 2013, there were the Supreme Court Rules of 1966. “The period of the summer vacation shall not exceed ten weeks. The length of the summer vacation of the Court and the number of holidays for the Court and the offices of the Court shall be such as may be fixed by the Chief Justice and notified in the Official Gazette so as not to exceed one hundred and three days (excluding Sundays) not falling in the vacation and during holidays.”
A year before from now, former CJI T.S. Thakur suggested eliminating the vacations system and in return to allow all the judges to apply for leave whenever required through a written application specifying the no. of days for leave.
Numerous attempts have been made to utilize the court holidays to deal with the pendency of the cases and proceedings in India. Consequently, it results in the delayed judgments and loss of faith in the Indian judiciary.
Apparently, the suggestion made by the former chief justice didn’t get entertained by the advocate commissions. He prominently had suggested that his proposal would not lead to an increase in the number of working days or working hours of any of the judges. All they were required to do was tell those managing court settings when they would like to avail of their vacations, which would have provided an easy answer to the problem of pendency.
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