"If there is no summer vacation, judges will go mad. Are they expected to work 365 days a year?" the Delhi High Court asked on Wednesday while dismissing a plea to discontinue the annual month-long break for its judges in June.
"The judges are already overworked and cannot be required to work more than what they are doing. Even during the summer vacation, the court is not closed as urgent cases are heard by vacation benches," a bench of acting chief justice BD Ahmed and justice Vibhu Bakhru said.
The PIL filed by one Suraj Parkash Manchanda, a retired banker, contended that litigants suffered when judges go on such long vacations and it also increased the pendency of cases.
"These concerns are misplaced. It is not applicable to Delhi High Court which works 210 days a year and is the only high court in the country where pendency is coming down each year and disposal is more than the cases filed," said the bench.
As per the court’s annual report (2010-12) released recently, the court disposed of up to 83,554 cases in two years, spending less than five minutes on an average on each case. The backlog as on March 31, 2012, stood at 63,012 cases as against 69,539 on April 1, 2010. Each judge heard 65 cases per day on an average.
When the petitioner asked, "Why all judges go on vacation at the same time and why there cannot be a rotation as in the police and for doctors in hospitals," justice Ahmed retorted, "It seems you have no understanding of the working of the judicial system. Such rotation is not practicable in judiciary and working of the system cannot be compared with other institution".
"The perception that a judge is relaxing throughout the vacation time is wrong as most of them spend substantial time writing judgments," said the court. On the demand to increase working hours of judges, justice Ahmed said, "The impression that judges are on duty only during court hours is wrong."