State PCS

Edit Template
Edit Template

Do Supreme Court, High Court Judges Vacation Too Much?

Chief Justice of India D. Y. Chandrachud said no that no vacation benches will be available in the apex court during the winter break.

Why in news?

Chief Justice of India D. Y. Chandrachud said no that no vacation benches will be available in the apex court during the winter break.

The announcement came the day after Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju criticised the judiciary for taking long vacations.


  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, chaired by BJP MP Sushil Kumar Modi, presented its 133rd report on “Judicial Processes and their reform” to both the Houses of the Parliament.
  • The report noted that for reducing pendency of cases, there is a need to have a multi-pronged strategy.
  • The report stated that vacations in the judiciary are a ‘colonial legacy’ andentire court going on vacation causes deep inconvenience to the litigants.
  • The committee reiterated a suggestion made by former Chief Justice of India R M Lodha on court vacations earlier.
    • The former CJI had suggested that instead of all the judges going on vacation, all at one time, individual judges should take their leave at different times through the year so that the courts are constantly open and there are always benches present to hear cases.

What are Court Vacations?

  • About:
    • The Supreme Court has 193 working days a year for its judicial functioning, while the High Court’s function for approximately 210 days, and trial courts for 245 days.
    • High Courts have the power to structure their calendars according to the service rules.
    • The Supreme Court takes two long vacations each year, the summer and winter breaks, but is technically not fully closed during these periods.
  • Vacation Bench:
    • A Vacation Bench of the Supreme Court is a special bench constituted by the CJI.
    • Litigants can still approach the Supreme Court and, if the court decides that the plea is an “urgent matter”, the Vacation Bench hears the case on its merits.
    • Cases such as bail, eviction, etc. often find precedence in listing before vacation benches.
      • It is not uncommon for courts to hear important cases during vacation.
      • In 2015, a five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court heard the challenge to the constitutional amendment setting up the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) during the summer vacation.
      • In 2017, a Constitution Bench held a six-day hearing in the case challenging the practice of triple talaq during summer vacation.
  • Legal Provisions:
    • Under Rule 6 of Order II of The Supreme Court rules, 2013, the CJI has nominated the Division Benches for hearing of urgent miscellaneous matters and regular hearing matters during the summer vacation for the period.
    • The rule reads that CJI may appoint one or more Judges to hear during summer vacation or winter holidays all matters of an urgent nature which under these rules may be heard by a Judge sitting singly.
    • And, whenever necessary, he may likewise appoint a Division Court for the hearing of urgent cases during the vacation which require to be heard by a Bench of Judges.

What are the Issues with Court Vacations?

  • Not Convenient for Justice Seekers:
    • The long vacation which the courts obtain is not very convenient for justice-seekers.
  • Not good Optics in Light of Pendency:
    • Extended frequent vacations are not good optics, especially in the light of mounting pendency of cases and the slow pace of judicial proceedings.
    • For an ordinary litigant, the vacation means further unavoidable delays in listing cases.
  • Incongruous with European Practices:
    • The summer break perhaps began because European judges of the Federal Court of India found Indian summers too hot — and took the winter break for Christmas.

Way Forward

  • The issue cannot be resolved until a “new system” on the appointment of judges is evolved
  • In 2000, the Justice Malimath Committee, set up to recommend reforms in the criminal justice system, suggested that the period of vacation should be reduced by 21 days, keeping in mind the long pendency of cases. It suggested that the Supreme Court work for 206 days, and High Courts for 231 days every year.
  • In its 230th report, the Law Commission of India in 2009 called for reform in this system, considering the staggering arrears, vacations in the higher judiciary must be curtailed by at least 10 to 15 days and the court working hours should be extended by at least half an hour.
  • In 2014, when the Supreme Court notified its new Rules, it said that the period of summer vacation shall not exceed seven weeks from the earlier 10-week period.

FAQs about Court Vacations

Q1: What recent announcement has the Chief Justice of India made regarding vacation benches?

Chief Justice of India D. Y. Chandrachud has declared that there will be no vacation benches available in the Supreme Court during the winter break.

Q2: What prompted this announcement from the Chief Justice of India?

The announcement followed criticism from Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju about the judiciary’s extended vacation periods.

Q3: What recommendations were presented by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice?

The committee’s 133rd report emphasized the necessity of a multi-pronged strategy to reduce the backlog of cases. It highlighted that the colonial legacy of court vacations inconveniences litigants and suggested alternatives.

Q4: How does the committee view court vacations?

The committee views vacations in the judiciary as a colonial legacy and stresses that the practice of the entire court going on vacation causes significant inconvenience to litigants.

Read also:- Article 370 of Indian Constitution

Demo Class/Enquiries

blog form

More Links
What's New
IAS NEXT is a topmost Coaching Institute offering guidance for Civil & Judicial services like UPSC, State PCS, PCS-J exams since more than 10 years.
Contact Us
Social Icon

Copyright ©  C S NEXT EDUCATION. All Rights Reserved