Judges’ meet favours reduction in high court vacations

April 18th, 2008 - 5:34 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) While endorsing the high court judges’ demand to raise their retirement age to 65 years, the Supreme Court Friday asked them to consider curtailing vacations by 21 days. The two proposals on the agenda for the annual two-day judges’ meet were approved Friday with some high court judges expressing reservations against curtailment of their vacations, an apex court official told IANS.

“Taking into consideration the huge arrears of cases that have piled up in the high courts, they may consider increasing their working days to 231 as against 210 at present by suitably reducing their vacations,” said the agenda note for the ongoing judges’ meet.

The apex court called upon the high court judges to consider curtailing their vacations, noting: “The president has the power to increase the number of working days, which would automatically lead to reduction of vacations.”

The judges’ meet, however, did not want the government to step in to curtail the high court vacations.

The apex court also pointed out to the high courts that it had curtailed its summer vacation by a week since 2007.

As per the note, the total period of vacations in high courts varies from 48 to 63 days and judges are required to work for 210 days in a year.

Besides the summer vacation, which all high courts take, they also take winter vacations and take holidays at Diwali, Durga Puja, Christmas, Dussehra and Onam depending upon the customs prevailing in the respective states.

The high court judges take 14 days of casual leave every year, besides availing of over two weeks of other public holidays.

Contrary to asking high court judges to voluntarily curtail their vacations, the judges’ meet asked the government to enact a relevant law to hike the retirement age of the high court judges.

“The conference recommends that the government immediately bring forward a Constitutional Amendment Bill to raise the retirement age of high court judges from 62 to 65, at par with the retirement age of the apex court judges,” said the note, approved by the conference.

Pitching for raising the high court judges’ retirement age, the conference argued that “the normal age for retirement of judges in many countries such as England, Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Ireland is 75, 72, 70, 68 and 67 years respectively, whereas in the United States and Russia they have lifetime tenures.”

“There is no rationale in the argument that at 62, a high court judge is too old to continue to work, but he can be entrusted to carry out the duties of a Supreme Court judge for three more years,” the conference note said.

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