Chennai: Why do we need a summer vacation for the High Courts, is the question raised by a public interest writ petition filed in the Madras high court recently.
The PIL filed by an advocate K Shyam Sundar, wants the HC to quash its own April 26 notification declaring summer recess from May 1 to June 2.
“The concept of summer vacation was introduced in high courts during the time when English judges were adorning the seats and they could not best the heat in summer. Nowadays, most of the superior courts are air-conditioned and the chambers and cars provided to judges are also air-conditioned. In view of the technological advancement, the custom of observing long summer vacations because of severe heat condition has lost its relevance,” the PIL makes the submission.
The PIL further points out that the high courts functioned for only 210 days a year. In addition to the four-week summer vacation, there were 22 declared holidays, 10-day Dussehra holidays and eight-day Christmas-New Year break.
Pleading for the quashing of April 26 notification the plaintiff said; “The notification is void because it is without jurisdiction and there is no provision in the high court rules or in the Constitution to close the court for more than a month, thereby depriving the citizens of their right to approach the court for violation of various rights.”
The PIL argues that “the April 26 notification had laid a condition that only urgent cases could be filed during the four-week recess has deprived the advocates as well as litigants of their right to file other cases such as quo warranto petitions.”
Calling the High Court summer vacation as ‘anti-people, anti-democratic and anti-judicial,’ the plaintiff pointed out that in Tamil Nadu alone there are more than five lakh cases pending at various levels of the judiciary.