The Supreme Court Bar Association appealed to Chief Justice of India S A Bobde and his companion judges on Saturday to cancel the summer vacation this year and treat it as a working period in the larger interest of litigants and justice.
The lawyers’ body said now that restrictions are likely to continue after the first phase of coronavirus lockdown ends on April 14, the CJI and the companion judges should take more proactive steps to mitigate the distress of litigants. It also urged the judges to take measures to gradually restore the full functioning of the top court.
Accordingly, the Executive Council resolves to appeal to the CJI and his companion judges to cancel the summer vacation and treat the period as working of the Supreme Court of India , the resolution passed unanimously by the bar association said.
It said it is deeply concerned about the distress caused to litigants because of the restricted functioning of the courts throughout the country– first due to Holi recess and then due to the nationwide lockdown, which necessitated very limited hearing of only urgent matters through video link.
The SCBA resolves that all lawyers practising in the Supreme Court will give up the summer vacation scheduled from May16 till July 5 and make themselves available for work, the association said.
It demanded that the temporary video-conference facilities be improved for live-streaming of court proceedings using an efficient multi-user platform such as those being used by the Council of Ministers and government officials.
It is only if all contesting lawyers, instructing Advocates in Record, and litigants can have simultaneous access to the video-conference proceedings, that the same can become an effective system for conducting full-fledged court proceedings at par with those which our judicial system requires should normally be conducted in open courtrooms, the lawyers’ body said, adding, that its President Dushyant Dave should bring this resolution to the notice of the Chief Justice of India.
The bar association said it fully supports the restrictions, which were unavoidable in the unprecedented situation faced by all in the first phase of the lockdown.
On Saturday, advocate Ashok Arora,secretary of SCBA said the CJI will review the functioning of the apex court every three-four days in consultation with other judges and officials of the Health Ministry.
He said the demand from bar leaders and other bodies that summer vacation this year be preponed can wait for a while and till then status quo is to be maintained.
I spoke to Chief Justice of India on April 10 at 12 noon and was informed that he was going to review the situation after every 3/4 days after consulting the other Judges and health ministry. Till then status quo. So better, we wait for a while, Arora said.
Meanwhile, senior advocate Dinesh Goswami has written to the CJI, requesting suspension of summer vacation.
The top court on March 23 virtually went into the lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus and suspended for indefinite period the entry of advocates and other staff in the high-security zone on the basis of their proximity cards.
On April 9, the Delhi High court decided to suspend the summer vacation this year, previously scheduled from June 1 to 30. The high court also cancelled the summer break of subordinate courts in June this year.