18 C
Guwahati
Sunday, January 29, 2023

Should The Holiday Culture For The Judiciary Be Discontinued?

In India also there is no holiday in subordinate criminal courts. But there is a holiday in the subordinate civil courts, high courts, and the Supreme Court. Then why are these holidays needed? Judges are heavily burdened daily and they work for very long hours. Judges will face burnout for lack of sufficient leave. Many judges use long intervals to write down pending decisions and also hold onto research, which is essential for judges to maintain the quality of justice. They also have to perform administrative tasks such as overseeing the lower judiciary and appointing judges.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

By: Priyanka Saurabh

Over the years, the Indian justice delivery system has become increasingly burdened with pending cases. According to the latest National Judicial Data Grid data, over 2.74 crore cases are pending in courts in India. How slow the wheel of justice moves, there is a heavy price to be paid for its time and resources. When discussing solutions to stop the growing number of pending cases, the topic of court leave often comes up. There have been calls to reduce, and even eliminate, the holidays altogether. Recently, a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court seeking to reduce the number of holidays observed by the courts.

- Advertisement -

As is being said time and again, pendency is a multifaceted issue, the resolution of which requires attention to a large number of connected issues. Whether reducing or eliminating court holidays can affect the pending figures. So, do the courts need vacations? Should the number of court holidays be reduced to reduce pendency rates? Will the pendency rates come down drastically if the holidays are abolished? Most High Courts function on an average of a little over 200 days in a year. This means courts enjoy an average of about 160 days of vacation due to holidays, weekends, and national holidays. The Supreme Court has more holidays than the High Courts. These numbers are, of course, excluding the vacation bench meetings.

Evidence from above, and as pointed out by various members of the legal fraternity, vacancies in High Courts are not helping the pending figures by any stretch. The Central Government is directly responsible for this situation, but that is a story for another day. The 1958 statute stipulates that leave means such periods during a year as may be prescribed by the Scheduled Castes Rules with the prior approval of the President. The current rule followed by the Supreme Court for leave is the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 and the Chief Justice of India issues a notification for leave every year. At present, the Supreme Court has 193 working days per year, while the High Courts have 210 days.

Should the holiday culture be discontinued for the higher judiciary? The concept of leisure originated from colonial rules. At that time the judges had come from England, a place colder than India and the heat of India was unbearable for them. There is no government organization in the country except the courts and schools where there is a holiday. More than 3.1 crore cases are pending in Indian courts. India has insufficient judicial power (India has only 13 judges per million populations, compared to Britain’s 100). There are many countries in the world where there are no holidays in the court. For example, France and US Judges do not have left, but they can take leave without affecting the work of the court.

In India also there is no holiday in subordinate criminal courts. But there is a holiday in the subordinate civil courts, high courts, and the Supreme Court. Then why are these holidays needed? Judges are heavily burdened daily and they work for very long hours. Judges will face burnout for lack of sufficient leave. Many judges use long intervals to write down pending decisions and also hold onto research, which is essential for judges to maintain the quality of justice. They also have to perform administrative tasks such as overseeing the lower judiciary and appointing judges.

- Advertisement -

Or instead of reducing the number of holidays, break it in such a way that the judge becomes more judicially active than it is now. HC can do so if 15 judges go on leave and 45 others can work. This will not put any pressure on the judges and no one will have to work too much. Is there any point in giving Diwali holidays to Muslims? It is the same with our Christmas holidays. It is wrong to assume that all 60 judges of the Bombay High Court would like to rest for 30 days in May. If you find a holiday slot of your choice, you better enjoy it than the mandatory sit-at-home vacation during the summer, winter, and Diwali holidays. Bombay HC has 60 judges; 45 of them would be willing to work during the court holidays if they are given other slots of their choice to take their leave. For example, I would love to go out in the monsoon and spend the summertime in the city.

Instead, keep 15 days for winter, 15 days for Diwali, and 15 public holidays. Let the judge choose when to take the remaining 75 days. Its decision can be taken by the Administrative Committee of the High Court. The 230th report of the Arrears Committee and the Law Commission recommended a shorter period of leave. The need of the hour is an efficient judiciary that is not only committed to serving the interests of the citizens but also communicates this commitment by modifying its practices to suit the needs of the country. Must have a strong desire to work and do justice. It is your oath, and you must fulfill your oath. Glamour, yes you have that, but you don’t judge for that. You become a judge to judge to the best of your ability. If your conscience is clear, these holidays and face value will not bother you. If someone is to be blamed for the dues in the courts, then the courts are responsible. (The author is a Research Scholar in Political Science, poet, freelance journalist, and columnist)

- Advertisement -
Avatar photo
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
Latest news
- Advertisement -
Related news
- Advertisement -