Amid an apparent fallout between the Centre and the apex court over the Collegium System and delay in the appointment of judges as per recommendation, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud has made it clear that no Supreme Court benches will be available during the two-week winter break, which starts from December 19. “There will be no benches available from tomorrow (Saturday) till January 1,” CJI Chandrachud informed the lawyers present in the courtroom on Friday before the start of the court proceedings.
The top judge’s remarks came after Union Minister of Law Kiren Rijiju questioned the “long vacations” in the Supreme Court and the inconvenience it caused to litigants. On Thursday, Rijiju made a statement in Rajya Sabha in which he said there was a feeling among the people that long court vacations were not very convenient for justice seekers.
Friday was the last working day of the apex court before it goes on a two-week winter break. The apex court will reopen on January 2, 2023. During the Christmas and New Year winter break there wouldn’t be any vacation benches, however, in case of any urgent matter, the vacation officer can be approached and if required, a bench will be constituted, it was said.
As per practice, vacation benches are constituted during long summer vacations only. Vacation is also a time for judges to write judgments, do administrative work, prepare for cases for hearings, and travel.
Former CJI NV Ramana had earlier said there is a misconception that judges stay in ultimate comfort and enjoy their holidays. There exists a misconception in the minds of the people that judges stay in ultimate comfort, work only from 10 am to 4 pm and enjoy their holidays, he had said.
Ramana, when he was CJI had said, “Such a narrative is untrue… when false narratives are created about the supposed easy life led by judges, it is difficult to swallow.” We continue to work even during weekends and court holidays to do research and author pending judgments, he had said, adding, “In this process, we miss out on many joys of our lives.”
For some time Central government and Supreme Court are at loggerheads because of the Collegium system of selecting judges for constitutional courts. Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul of the top court has also been very critical of the delay by the Centre in clearing the names recommended by the Collegium for appointment as judges.