‘Abandon summer vacation of court’ - The New Indian Express

‘Abandon summer vacation of court’

Published: 22nd May 2013 08:19 AM

Last Updated: 22nd May 2013 08:19 AM

A public interest writ petition has been filed in the Madras High Court to abandon the centuries-old practice of granting summer vacation for a little over one month from May 1 every year to the principal seat in Chennai and its bench at Madurai.

In his PIL, advocate K Shyam Sundar of Mandaveli submitted that apart from the summer holidays declared from May 1 to June 3, this year by a notification dated April 26 issued by the Registrar-General, HC was enjoying 22 public holidays, excluding Saturdays and Sundays. The court would remain closed from October 12 to 20 for Dasara. Then there come Christmas and New Year holidays from December 25 to January 2. Many working days would be lost due to advocates’ strike. In all, HC would enjoy 155 holidays against the total of 365 days in a year.

The summer vacation had been introduced by the British, as they could not tolerate the heat during May. Now almost all the courts have air-conditioning facility. In view of this, the custom of observing long summer holidays had lost its relevance today.  The 155 holidays had resulted in accumulation of cases, which was now estimated at about 5 lakh. The root cause for the delay in justice delivery system was the holidays declared to HC. It affected the right of the people to get speedy justice and violated Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

The Parliamentary Sta-nding Committee on Law and Justice, headed by EM Sudarsana Nachiappan, in its 28th report had stated in 2008 that the system of vacations was a colonial legacy. Justice AR Lakshmanan, the then chairman of Law Commission, had also recommended to the Union Law Ministry to increase the number of working days to clear the huge pendency of cases. The judges should devote their full time to judicial work and should not be under any misconception that they were Lords or above society. There was also no provision in the High Court Rules or in the Constitution to close the HC for more than a month. The continuance of the British practice was anti-people, anti-democratic and anti-judicial, petitioner said.

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