[Answered] Critically analyze the present system of court vacations. In this regard, also highlight a few best practices in other countries.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.

Body: Write some arguments in favour of and against court vacations. Also write some measures and best practices in other countries.

Conclusion: Write a way forward.

The 1958 statute tells that vacation means such periods during a year fixed by SC rules with the prior approval of the President. The current rule followed by SC for vacation is Supreme Court Rules, 2013 and Chief Justice of India (CJI) issues notifications for the vacation every year. Currently, the Supreme Court has 193 working days per year, while the High Courts have 210 days.

Need of vacancies:

  • Except on rare occasions like family tragedies or health issues, judges do not take leave of absencelike other working professionals when the court is in session.
  • Judges are overburdenedon a daily basis and work extremely long hours. In the absence of sufficient breaks, judges will suffer a burnout.
  • Many judges use the long breaks to write judgmentsthat are pending and also catch up on research, which is essential for judges to maintain the quality of justice.
  • They also have to perform administrative taskslike supervision of lower judiciary and appointment of judges.

Concerns:

  • The concept of vacation is originated from colonial rules. Judges at that time came from England, a place colder compared to India and the summer of India was unbearable to them.
  • There are no governmental organizationsin the country except courts and schools that have vacation.
  • There is a backlog of over 3.1 crore casesin Indian courts.
  • There is insufficient judicial power(India has only 13 judges per million population, compared to the UK’s 100) in India.
  • The subordinate criminal courts do not have any vacation.But the subordinate civil courts, High Courts and the Supreme Court have vacations.

What can be done?

  • Arrears Committee and 230th Report of Law Commission recommended for a shorter durationin the vacation.
  • The Justice Malimath Committee recommended that the period of vacation should be reduced by 21 days and the Supreme Court should work for 206 days, and High Courts for 231 days every year.

Best practices in other countries: There are many countries in the world that do not have vacations in the courts. For example, France and the US. Judges don’t have vacation, but they can take holidays without affecting the function of the court.

The need of the hour is an efficient judiciary that is not only committed to meet the interests of the citizens, but also communicates this commitment by modifying their practices to suit the needs of the country.

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