‘No benches in winter break’, says SC after Centre’s jibe on long vacations

Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Friday said that there will be no vacation benches during the winter break of the Supreme Court, which begins from Saturday.

On Thursday, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, in the Rajya Sabha, said that there was a feeling among the people that long court vacations were not very convenient for justice seekers. Against the backdrop of this statement from the law minister, the announcement made by the Chief Justice in a courtroom full of lawyers that “there will be no benches available from tomorrow till January 1,” assumes significance.

Friday is the last working day for the Supreme Court and it will reopen after two weeks’ winter break on January 2, 2023.

Long vacations availed by courts have often faced criticism. However, then Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, while delivering a lecture on ‘Life of a Judge’ in Ranchi in July, said there was a misconception that judges stay in ultimate comfort and enjoy their holidays.

“We spend sleepless nights rethinking our decisions. After all, like all other humans, even judges are fallible. Judges in the apex court are entrusted with the task of delivering the final verdict. As it seals the fate of parties, the stress is much more at the highest level. It is an onerous responsibility, which we take extremely seriously. There exists a misconception in the minds of the people that judges stay in ultimate comfort, work only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and enjoy their holidays. Such a narrative is untrue,” Justice Ramana had said.

He further added, “We continue to work even during weekends and court holidays to do research and author pending judgments. In this process, we miss out on many joys of our lives. Sometimes, we miss out on important family events. At times, I wonder if my grandchildren would recognise me at all after failing to see them for days together.”

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