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Bombay HC Asks BCI’s Response on Plea to do Away with Long Court Vacation, Says ‘Expectation Legitimate’

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Bombay High Court Law Insider

Akansha Upadhyay

Published on: November 16, 2022 at 10:54 IST

The Bombay High Court recently issued notice to the Bar Council of India (BCI) against a petition challenging the practise of courts taking long vacations. The plea further states the long vacation period often has an impact on the filing and hearing of cases.

A bench of Justices SV Gangapurwala and SG Dige stated that the expectation of the litigant is legitimate but shortage of judges also needs to be addressed.

The bench said, “From where do you get judges to sit in constitute benches? Expectation of the litigant is legitimate and we understand, and the predicament too, but what can we do,”

Petitioner’s Advocate Mathews Nedumpara submitted that, “NJAC could have come up, then this problem would not have arisen. judges don’t need to appoint judges. I have written that the issue of NJAC be taken up,”

On this point court stated that the issue of non-listing of matters was prevalent in the Supreme Court as well. The bench referred to a recent instance when the Supreme Court issued notice to its own registry seeking an explanation on the as to why a matter was not listed for a year, though it was ready for hearing.

It was the plea filed by Sabin Lakdawala  seeking a declaration that closing courts for more than 70 days for any kind of vacation, is a violation of fundamental rights of litigants. Lakdawala acknowledged that while both judges and lawyers need breaks, keeping it limited to weekends and gazetted holidays will suffice the purpose.

She clarified that her argument was not to deprive judges and lawyers of leave and increase their workload, but that judges could be encouraged to take different leave at different times of the year.

Nedumpara, appearing for Lakdawala, submitted that his client has been suffering for long as her case was not being listed.

On this, Justice Gangapurwala asked Nedumpara to separately plead on this issue and show the court how many times, urgent relief was not granted.

However, the counsel of petitioner submitted that his plea is addressing the issue regarding access to justice. He moreover, suggested that the judges can take leaves at different times instead of together, so that the Court can be functional round the year.

Justice Gangapurwala however was not satisfied with the submission, and amusingly stated, “Imagine if this is a school. What if the Maths teacher takes leave in January, the Science teacher  takes leave in February, some other  teacher takes in some other  month, how will the school function?”