HC rejects plea to cut court holidays: Overworked, why deny us vacation

A PIL seeking reduction in the duration of court vacations and cancellation of the month-long summer break in the Delhi High Court prompted the Acting Chief Justice to ask the petitioner why he was against holidays for judges. The petitioner said vacations should be curtailed so that a large number of pending cases could be dealt with.

"We will examine the issue but why are you against our holidays?" Acting Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed asked petitioner S P Manchanda, president of NGO Prakash India, who had

appeared in person to argue the case.

The petitioner said long summer vacations "infringed on the fundamental right of the people to get speedy justice and was violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution".

The PIL sought orders to "discontinue the summer vacations of the High Court of Delhi" and to "curtail vacations of the Delhi High Court by 10 to 15 days as recommended by the Law Commission of India".

The petitioner argued that courts had huge arrears of cases, and several thousand cases were pending before the Delhi High Court. The solution, he said, was to increase working hours and reduce the vacation time of the courts.

"En bloc summer vacations are a concept introduced by the British who found the Indian summer unbearable. Why should it continue now when we have ACs and other technology that makes working in the summer easy?" Manchanda argued.

The bench of Acting Chief Justice Ahmed and Justice Vibhu Bakhru, dismissed the plea: "Judges and lawyers are already overworked and cannot be required to work any more than they already are. If the court is sitting in rotation, when will lawyers get a break?"

The petitioner was told that the Delhi High Court was "religiously" following Central government rules mandating 210 court-sitting days, and that judges had to do a lot of work even when they were not sitting in the courtrooms.

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