The Supreme Court will be reopening today, after a vacation of 49 days starting from May 12th. The Supreme Court will be working more this year than it did in the year 2013, due to the high pendency of cases.
As per the Supreme Court’s calendar for 2014, of the 365 days, the court will work for nearly 200 days whereas in 2013, the court worked for nearly 176 days and 189 days were holidays which included roughly 104 Saturdays and Sundays, and nearly two-and-a-half months of summer vacations. With Justice R.M. Lodha proposing 365 working days for the judiciary, the judiciary might see even lesser holidays in the coming years. Even the Law Commission of India, in its 230th report had stated that vacations in the higher judiciary should be reduced by at least 10 to 15 days and the court working hours should be extended by at least half an hour.
In the wake of the ever increasing backlog of cases, the Supreme Court introduced the system of regular Vacation Courts in recent past. Earlier, there was no such mechanism of Vacation Bench during the holidays. Whenever there is an urgent matter to be heard, the Advocate should approach the concerned Registrar of Supreme Court and inform about the urgency. The Registry needs to be suitably convinced of the reason for not filing it before the vacations for a matter to be heard by the Vacation Bench. Sometimes, if the matter is so urgent, and it is beyond court timings, the Judges would hear the matter at their official Bungalows. Before the Court closes for the holidays, the Registry will also issue a Vacation list and respective lawyers can choose to attend or not attend their matters, as per their convenience. If any lawyer is not willing to present the matter during vacation, he/she should inform the Registry about the decision and seek the particular matter to be excluded. Once this exercise is over, the Registry will issue a final list to be heard during vacation. Additionally, only certain matters are allowed before the Vacation Bench and certain are specifically excluded.
The apex court was presided by four vacation benches, with the entire vacations divided into three parts. The following matters are treated as matters of urgent nature for listing during the vacation:
1. Matters in which death penalty has been awarded;
2. The petition for Habeas Corpus and matters relating to it;
3. Matters relating to imminent apprehension of demolition of property;
4. Matters relating to dispossession/eviction;
5. Matters relating to and of general public importance;
6. Matters for anticipatory bail and matters filed against orders-refusing/granting bail;
The following matters are not found suitable for listing during vacation:
1. Matters arising out of interlocutory orders;
2. Matters relating to remand orders;
3. Matters relating to pre-deposit of tax, penalty etc., under specified statutes;
4. Matters arising out of life sentence or sentences for more than one year;
5. Service matters involving transfer and/or reversion, dismissal and removal from service;
6. Transport matters, except those relating to cancellation of permits and needing urgent interim orders;
7. Matters relating to decrees and their execution.
With the President’s assent already received, three new judges will be sworn in. Senior advocate Rohinton Nariman and the Chief Justices of the Calcutta and Orissa High Courts, Arun Mishra and Adarsh Kumar Goel respectively, will be appointed as judges of the Supreme Court. Their names were forwarded to the President by the Law Ministry a few days ago even as it turned down the elevation of the former Solicitor-General of India, Gopal Subramanium, who was among the four names recommended by the Supreme Court collegium last month. No doubt, non- elevation of Gopal would be the hot topic among the lawyers in the reopening week.
Several important matters will be decided upon by the court in the coming days. As per the Notification issued by the Registry, the Constitution Bench is to sit from 8th July to decide some of the long pending issues. Since the Constitution Bench reduces the availability of the Judges to hear other regular matters, the CB is not often constituted. There are number issues pending before the Court to be decided.
A bench headed by Justice Vikramajit Sen had refused to hear a plea restraining N. Srinivasan from taking up the post of the chairman of ICC executive board, on an urgent basis. The Bench said that the case can be taken up after the vacation. The plea was put forward by Cricket Association of Bihar, in the wake of the ongoing probe against Srinivasan. The Bench described it as unfair that the matter was brought before it again after the same as declined by an earlier bench. Similarly,
There are host of other issues like Mullaperiyar Review Petition (Read the Live Law story here)
Nariman-PP Rao Committee Report on Sexual Harassment in Judiciary, Coal Scam, Black Money, High profile Corruption cases, Andhra Pradesh Division, Review Petition on Constitutionality of Same Sex (Naz Foundation Case), awaiting the resolution by the Apex Court.