Chief Justice of India RM Lodha
Ranchi, July 2: Jharkhand High Court registrar-general today shot off letters to the advocate-general, Jharkhand State Bar Council and Jharkhand High Court Advocates’ Association, seeking their opinion on the Supreme Court’s proposal for a 365-day working calendar.
The letter says that Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha had mooted a new idea of keeping all courts across the country open round the year to effectively reduce the backlog of cases.
The CJI, who has written to chief justices of all high courts for their views on the 365-day work calendar, took care to mention that the pain of litigants can only be reduced if the holidays and vacation of judges was curtailed. The CJI recalled the observation of Justice Warren Berger, former Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, that “people with legal problems, like people with pain, want relief and they want it as quickly and as expeditiously as possible”.
He suggested that judges can take leave according to their convenience, rather than courts closing for holidays.
However, the judiciary cannot work with judges alone and needs the support of other stakeholders, that is the government and advocates in particular.
In the letter sent today, registrar-general Anil Kumar Choudhary has sought to know what advocate-general R.S. Majumdar and Jharkhand State Bar Council feel about the proposal.
They have been requested to submit their views in writing by July 5.
“The response from the office of the advocate-general, bar council and advocates association will be placed before a full court meeting of the high court judges. The minutes of the meeting will then be sent to the Supreme Court, which will take the final decision,” Choudhary added.
When contacted, Jharkhand High Court Advocates’ Association president Mahesh Tiwary said that the matter was already before the Bar Council of India (BCI). The BCI had called a meeting of the chairman and vice chairman of bar councils of all states on June 4. “The meeting was also attended by the presidents of all advocates' associations in high courts. The BCI has constituted a three-member committee that will study the proposal of the Supreme Court. The issue involves national interest and is being dealt with by the BCI, which will take a call on behalf of advocates,” Tiwary said.
Every year, the Supreme Court goes on vacation for 45 days in summer and again for a fortnight during Christmas. This means the country’s highest court is on vacation for two months in a year, leading to a huge backlog of cases. It’s the same with the high courts.
Although the courts have vacation judges, they deal only with urgent issues.