Published On : Mon, Jan 4th, 2016

Should courts work for 365 days?

Opinions vary in the legal fraternity

Nagpur: According to certain reports in legal fraternity, a backlog of more than three crore cases exists in courts across the country. Recently former Chief Justice of India H L Dattu had asked the Chief Justices of all High Courts to ensure expeditious disposal of cases pending for five years or more.

According to data available with the Apex Court, the number of pending cases with the Supreme Court is 64,919. The data available for the 24 High Courts and lower courts up to the year ending 2013 showed pendency of 44.5 lakhs and whopping 2.6 crores, respectively. Of the over 44 lakh cases pending in the 24 high courts of the country, 34,32,493 were civil and 10,23,739 criminal cases.

Those who have visited the District Court or High Court know the problems they have to face because of delay in judgments. A discussion was on in one of the social media in the city.

Recently while speaking about the New Year resolutions, Maharashtra Advocate General Shrihari Aney said that he will try and get the courts to work 365 days of the year. According to him, that is the only way to clear the backlog of so many years.

Keeping in mind their request not to be identified, the surnames and their professions are not being mentioned.

Nagpur Today ventured to find the opinion of people working in various fields. While many people in the legal fraternity did not like the idea, others opined that this move of courts having to work for 365 days is illegal.

Rahul opined that he differs with the Respected Advocate General. Lalit said that this can be possible with rotating shifts. Om said that the Supreme Court also directs that no individual or worker should work for 365 days. Indian Labour Laws too directs that no person should be allowed to work for 365 days. Rafiq opined that most advocates do work for 365 days. When they are not working in the courts, they are doing research and working in their own offices or residences.

State should provide proper infrastructure, increase in number of Judges and provide a workable environment. He also opined that if the government wants quality work, Lawyers should not be overburdened. He also claimed that the Lower Judiciary is already working overtime. Often on Sundays, many workshops are organized for them.

Tushar said that former Chief Justice R M Lodha had proposed this mechanism which the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) opposed. However, Tushar felt that courts should work for 365 days.

Vaibhav opined that Advocate General is absolutely bang on. In view of this pendency, the courts should work overtime. Not only 365 days. Once pendency is reduced, it should work six days a week with Sundays a holiday. This British era system must be immediately scrapped. Unfortunately, a majority of lawyers will oppose this move to make the courts work for 365 days and hence this move will never succeed.

According to Om, the Bombay Shops and Establishment Act makes it mandatory to keep the shops and business establishment closed for one day in a week. Even though the shopkeepers and proprietors of shops and business establishments wish to keep their shops open for all 365 days and thus earning more benefits and profits, they are bound by laws and keep their shops closed.

Manoj opined that not only is it possible for Lawyers or Advocates to work for 365 days, they can work for 365 days and nights too.

Sanjay opined that taking into account the age of those leaders or people it is amply clear that they have finished off their responsibilities to their families so they can afford to make such suggestions, but the younger Advocates need to spend at least one day with their family. They have various responsibilities of the house too which they look into during Sundays. One should consider so many factors before making any laws.

Akash said that it will be injustice to Advocates having to work for 365 days. Even otherwise, all the intelligent and wise Advocates work all 365 days. They come to courts for court appearance and later on can be seen working from their offices or residences. On Sundays and holidays they do their research or investigations or study their case-files so that they can present the best possible defense for their clients. It would be highly inappropriate for Advocates to be bound by time and days of working. On the other-hand, the courts should ensure that the work environment in the courts be improved. They should also take care of the safety of Advocates in the court. Some mechanism should be evolved to provide a “Common Minimum Security” for all Advocates.

According to Swapnil, Advocates working for 365 days simply means divorce from their spouses, keeping the children in hostels or boarding schools, stress and illness etc. He clearly opined that if the Advocates work with all sincerity and honesty in the working days and time, many cases will get disposed off.

By Rajeev Kushwaha and Samuel Gunasekharan