Curb long vacations in top judicial institutions
Ref: Would the Indian Judiciary need centuries to clear its backlog of cases?
Comment: CURB LONG VACATIONS IN TOP JUDICIAL INSTITUTIONS
India is a country where there is a huge pendency of cases across the country. It is a fact that about 3.6 crores of litigation are pending in the courts of India. In such circumstances, the judges and advocates who have sworn to uphold the rule of law and the constitution of India cannot afford to go on long vacations. This affects the sacred objective of rendering social justice to one and all in the country. It is also a violation of the fundamental rights of the citizens.
Judicial institution continues to follow the colonial practice, despite criticism from several quarters. Much has changed since the British left the country, yet certain practices, such as having long summer vacations introduced by them, continue to be in vogue. Supreme Court and High Court of Delhi has come a long way since then and its Bench in New Delhi boasts of centrally air-conditioned court halls that are provided with uninterrupted power supply round the clock, apart from heavy generators to meet contingencies.
It is an admitted fact that for institutions like that of Supreme Court and High Courts, time is extremely valuable and cannot be afforded to go unproductive. To top it all, a large part of the pie gets marked as holidays.
Apart from the marked yearly vacation of over a month and above, these Courts cannot function on a list of days due to religious festivities.
According to Frank Tyger, “When you like your work every day is a holiday.” This sentence says it all. If everyone in the Judiciary including the Judges, advocates and all the office bearers imbibe in themselves these words of Tyger, then it will surely reduce the rate of pendency of cases. The long drawn process and procedure of Courts of Law will not put any litigant to sufferance. There have been instances which connote that no Judge is willing to like the work he does and hence he seems to be enjoying the holidays by making the layman wait; most of the times for more than a decade! Let the Hon’ble Judges acknowledge the vitality of reducing the holidays and address the nation in a way as is required and aspired by the citizens because long vacation amounted to violation of the fundamental rights of litigants to have speedy disposal of their petition. Speedy trial is an integral and essential part of the fundamental right to life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 in the constitution. The Supreme Court as well as Delhi High Court has a Vacation Bench which takes up "urgent" petitions during the vacation period. However, it is stated that the HC cannot bifurcate the petitions as "urgent" and "not urgent", contending that it was the right of every litigant to have his petition's speedy disposal.
Sometimes, the issue of addressing the backlog of cases results into mere disposal of the cases.
To deal with the piling backlog of cases, the Supreme Court and high court judges must cut down holidays and put in longer hours at work. Now, this does not mean that all the Judges should be made to work round the year. Instead, if the some vacation can be made available to the Judges in turns, then there will be a lesser waste of time. Considering the staggering arrears, vacations in the higher judiciary may be curtailed by at least 10 to 15 days and the court working hours may be extended by at least half an hour, as recommended by Law Commission.