SC defers summer vacation till June 19 to make up for time lost

Updated on May 16, 2020 07:16 AM IST

In a notification, the court’s registrar said the vacation, which was scheduled to commence on May 18, stands rescheduled. The court will work during the five-week period from May 18 till June 19, he added.

A lawyer covers his face with protective mask to prevent himself from coronavirus at Supreme Court, in New Delhi.(Biplov Bhuyan/HT FILE PHOTO)
A lawyer covers his face with protective mask to prevent himself from coronavirus at Supreme Court, in New Delhi.(Biplov Bhuyan/HT FILE PHOTO)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByMurali Krishnan

The Supreme Court on Friday deferred its summer vacation till June 19 to make up for the loss of working hours due to the Covid-19 lockdown which has forced it to hold hearings of important cases via videoconferencing since March 23.

However, it will continue to work through videoconferencing.

In a notification, the court’s registrar said the vacation, which was scheduled to commence on May 18, stands rescheduled. The court will work during the five-week period from May 18 till June 19, he added.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde took the decision to reschedule the vacation after taking into account views of the Supreme Court judges, people aware of the matter said.

“The five-week period from May 18, 2020 to June 19, 2020 (both days inclusive) of the summer vacation of the Supreme Court calendar has been rescheduled and declared as period of functioning for the court,” the notification said.

An earlier October 2019 notification on the list of holidays for the Supreme Court in 2020 has been modified to reflect this change.

The Supreme Court’s month-and-half-long summer vacation usually begins in mid-May. Friday was expected to be the last working day of the top court ahead of the vacation this year. The court was to reopen on July 6. The CJI will now take a call on the summer vacation later.

Supreme Court advocate M F Philip said the deferment will make up for the loss of working days. “They should have taken this decision earlier and not at the eleventh hour, and I would suggest that lawyers should be allowed to access their chambers within court premises.”

Many high courts, including the Delhi High Court have already cancelled their summer vacations to make up for the loss of working hours due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Supreme Court Bar Association passed a resolution on April 11 expressing willingness to work through the summer vacation. It had requested the CJI to cancel the summer vacation.

The Supreme Court issued a circular on March 23 suspending entry of lawyers and litigants into the court premises. The court said that only extremely urgent cases will be taken up for hearings through video conferencing during the lockdown period.

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