The Supreme Court Bar Association has opposed the Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha’s suggestion to Chief Justices of all High Courts that courts should function all 365 days in a year. The CJI had said “the courts should function all year round, giving individual judges the choice of holidays and vacations.”
Responding to the CJI’s suggestion, SCBA president P.H. Parekh said “on the face of it, 365 days work scheme may not reduce the arrears because if working hours of the judges remain the same the judicial output will remain constant.”
Mr. Parekh, in a letter to the CJI, said, “In fact the new scheme may perhaps result in an increase in the arrears because on Saturdays, Sundays and other holidays, the stake holders in the administration of justice may not take the judicial work as seriously as they do it on working days.”
He added, “It is believed worldwide that holidays are very necessary for the efficient and effective functioning of any institution. It will apply with greater force to members of the bar looking at their working hours. The view of most of the members of the SCBA is that they cannot possibly work for 365 days as no human being can or should work 365 days.”
The Bar Council of India, after a meeting of State bar councils, had already voiced its opposition to the 365 days work scheme.
Mr. Parekh said, “The members of the bar are already working very hard under the existing system. Except for their work obligations, they have their family as well as social obligations. They need holidays to prepare their cases and they also need some time to have vacation as all others have.”
Instead of the 365 days work scheme, the SCBA suggested among other things that vacancies of judges in the Supreme Court, High Courts and subordinate judiciary should be filled up expeditiously, unnecessary adjournments of cases should be avoided and, if necessary, working hours of all courts could be increased by one hour on all working days for some time as an experiment.