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  • 23 December, 2022

  • 6 Min Read

Court Vacations

Court Vacations

  • The Supreme Court will not have a holiday bench when it takes its yearly winter vacation, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) recently stated.
  • Although this court calendar has colonial origins, it has been the target of criticism for a while.

How do Court Vacations work?

  • Approximately: The High Court functions for about 210 days per year, the Supreme Court for 193 working days, and trial courts for 245 working days.
  • High Courts have the authority to organise their schedules in accordance with the service regulations.
  • The summer and winter recesses, which the Supreme Court takes twice a year, are technically not closed to the public.

Holiday Bench:

  • A special Supreme Court bench chosen by the Chief Justice of India is known as a vacation bench.
  • The Supreme Court is still a venue for litigants, and the Vacation Bench hears the case on the merits if the court determines that the plea is a "urgent matter."
  • Before vacation benches, cases involving bail, eviction, and other issues sometimes take precedence.
  • Courts frequently hear significant cases when they are off.
  • During the summer recess of 2015, a five-judge Supreme Court bench heard arguments against the constitutional amendment creating the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC).
  • In 2017, a Constitution Bench heard the case contesting the use of triple talaq during the summer break over the course of six days.

Legal Requirements:

  • The Division Benches have been designated by the Chief Justice of India under Rule 6 of Order II of The Supreme Court Rules, 2013, to consider urgent miscellaneous issues and regular hearing matters during the summer break.
  • The rule states that the CJI may appoint one or more judges to hear all urgent cases that, under these rules, may be heard by a judge sitting alone during the summer or winter holidays.
  • Additionally, when required, he may name a Division Court to hear urgent cases that must be heard by a bench of judges while the court is off.

What Problems Do Court Vacations Cause?

Inconvenient for Those Seeking Justice:

  • For those looking for justice, the lengthy vacation that the courts receive is not very handy.

Poor Optics Given the Tendency:

  • Extended, frequent vacations are not a good look, especially given the rising backlog of cases and the sluggishness of the legal system.
  • The vacation will cause additional, inescapable delays in listing cases for the average litigant.

Contrary to European Customs:

  • The summer vacation may have started because European Federal Court of India justices took the winter off for Christmas because they thought Indian summers to be too hot.

Way Forward

  • The problem won't be fixed until a "new method" for choosing judges is developed.
  • Given the lengthy case pending times, the Justice Malimath Committee, which was established to make recommendations for changes to the criminal justice system, advised in 2000 that the vacation period be cut by 21 days. It was proposed that the Supreme Court sit for 206 days a year and the High Courts for 231 days.
  • The Law Commission of India urged for reform of this system in its 230th report in 2009, stating that, in light of the alarming backlogs, vacation time for the higher courts must be reduced by at least 10 to 15 days, and court hours must be increased by at least 30 minutes.

Source: The Hindu

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