Supreme Court, High Courts, unable to justify their month long summer vacation

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The apex court has expressed its inability to provide any record on long summer break under the RTI application. Informing the Chief Information Commissioner in response to RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal's application, it said "Information relating to practice of summer vacation etc, there is no record available.

For about seven long decades since Independence, the Supreme Court of India and other high courts have been following the practice of more than a month-long summer vacation and week-long Holi, Diwali and Dussehra holidays but have no record about how and when the practice started.
The apex court has expressed its inability to provide any record on long summer break under the RTI application. Informing the Chief Information Commissioner in response to RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal's application, it said "Information relating to practice of summer vacation etc, there is no record available." However, the top court's registry works like any government office during long court vacations.
After accepting the reply, CIC has disposed of Agrawal's plea recently. According to Agrawal, long court vacations are said to be continuing as a British legacy when British judges in India were privileged with such long court-vacations for helping them evade hot Indian weather and also to facilitate visits to their British homeland.
Agrawal said "With long pendency of court cases, recommendation of Law Commission for scrapping long court vacations, the colonial practice is still there. Union Ministry of Law & Justice should immediately scrap any privileged vacations for courts ensuring a common pattern of holidays from Supreme Court to lower courts."
The CPIO had submitted that for the Supreme Court, which came into existence from January 26, 1950, holidays and vacations are government-controlled by Supreme Court Rules, 1966, and the same are available on its website. It said out of 365 days, there are 193 working days in total.
Amid growing criticism from various quarters in view of the pendency of cases, in 2014, for the first time, then Chief Justice of India R M Lodha had curtailed the summer vacation from a maximum ten weeks to seven weeks.
The declaration of a shorter summer vacation for the top court has come by way of a gazette notification on the new regulations, to be called the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 replacing its SC Rules, 1966. The fresh rules had obtained the assent of the President of India.
The Supreme Court goes on summer vacation for not less than 45 days on average every year. This year, the vacation would be for little more than 40 days.
As per the Supreme Court calendar, high courts currently work for 210 days and trial courts for 245 days a year.
Last year, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had heard the plea questioning the validity of National Judicial Accountability Commission (NJAC) during summer vacations.
The Law Commission in its report in 2009 had recommended that vacations in the higher judiciary should be curtailed by at least 10 to 15 days. However, the CJI's proposal did not find favour with lawyers' bodies including the Bar Council of India and the SC Bar Association, which said that the proposition was not feasible.

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