No Vacation Bench During Christmas Vacation: CJI Chandrachud A Day After Law Minister Spoke Against Long Vacations
Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud said in Court today that no Supreme Court bench will be available from December 17 till January 1 during the ensuing Christmas holidays.
"There will be no Benches available from tomorrow till January 1," Justice Chandrachud informed the lawyers present in the courtroom today morning.
The Chief Justice's announcement came a day after Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju in Rajya Sabha on Friday gave a detailed statement in reply to a question by Rajeev Shukla about working days of Courts.
"Order II of Part I of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 provide for sittings of the Supreme Court, length of summer vacation and the number of holidays of the Court and also the Benches of the Hon'ble Judges during summer vacation and winter holidays", the statement said.
As per the statement, the Supreme Court Rules, 2013, inter-alia, provided that the period of summer vacation shall not exceed seven weeks and the length of the summer vacation 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 court holidays. "As per the information provided by the Supreme Court of India, during the last three years, the average number of court working days of Supreme Court was 224 (2019), 217 (2020) and 202 (2021)", the statement said.
On Thursday, the Law Minister had said that there was a feeling among the people that long court vacations were not very convenient for justice seekers.
Earlier, the Minister had said in the Lok Sabha that the Law Commission in its 230th Report on "Reforms in the Judiciary-Some Suggestions" had suggested that considering the large number of pending cases, the number of vacations in the higher judiciary must be curtailed by at least 10-15 days.
Today is the last working day of the Court before it goes on two-week Christmas holidays. The Court will reopen on January 2.
The Law Minister also told the Parliament on Friday that the Central Government has no role in fixing the minimum number of compulsory working days for courts. "However, the Government is fully committed to the independence of judiciary and constantly endeavours to provide a conducive environment for judges to discharge their judicial functions smoothly", he said.
The Minister also informed the Rajya Sabha that according to information obtained from the website of the Supreme Court of India, as on December 1, 2022, the number of cases pending was 69,598 and in the High Courts was 59,56,251.
On Wednesday, the Minister said while speaking at the Rajya Sabha that if the Supreme Court starts hearing bail applications and frivolous PILs, it will create a burden upon the Court, as it is a Constitutional Court.
Last Thursday, the Bench of Justice S K Kaul and Justice Vikram Nath had said that the remarks about the collegium system are not well taken. "Comments on the Supreme Court Collegium are not very well taken. You will have to advise them to control their…" said Justice Vikram Nath to the Attorney General.
While speaking at the Times Now Summit last month, the Union Law Minister had termed the Collegium System to be alien to the Constitution of India. The Law Minister had said, "Collegium system is alien to the Indian constitution. You tell me under which provision the collegium system has been prescribed."