The festive season is here, and everyone wants to be home or at their place at this time of the year. The corporate jobs of today’s time take a toll on the employees who not only have to worry about the air and train tickets during the festive season but also about their leaves balance. The corporate world is demanding, and one gets a very limited number of leaves from his/ her work throughout a given year. A normal corporate employee usually gets around 32 leaves in a year which includes- 6 sick leaves, 6 casual leaves and 10 earned leaves along with 10 leaves for major festivals and national holidays. This is the reality of today’s work culture which combines high stress work with negligible amount of rest/ leaves.
The Indian judiciary, however, gets a higher share of leaves and holidays. In 2007, India Today reported that in that year the Supreme Court had more breaks than working days. Out of the 365 days a year, the Supreme Court had only 176 working days. The remaining 189 days – more than half the year – were holidays. The Supreme Court does not work Saturdays and Sundays. At the time when the India Today reported about the number of holidays in the top court, there used to be summer holidays for nearly two and a half months which has now been reduced to seven weeks. Apart from this, there is also a fortnight of winter vacation besides several other leaves, ranging from a day to a week. And this is in the backdrop of a huge backlog of cases. As per the Supreme Court calendar for the ongoing year 2018, there is a summer holiday for the apex court from May 21 2018 to July 2, 2018 and apart from this there are also going to be New Year/ Christmas Holidays as well Dussehra holidays, Holi holidays and Diwali holidays. Apart from this, there are one day holidays on major festivals.
According to the Delhi High Court calendar, there is a Summer vacation from Monday,04 June to Saturday, 30 June (both days inclusive) and for Winter Vacation from Monday,24 December to Monday,31 December (both days inclusive).
In a discussion, retired High Court judge, V.G. Palshikar had stated that long vacations are a relic of the British rule. According to him during the British Raj, all the judges were English people and needed to spend some time back home. Therefore, initially they needed three months’ time- one month to go back by ship, one month to stay with their families, and one month to come back. However, with the advent of air transport, so it needed just flying back come and coming back. Christmas holidays were also for English judges and later with Indian judges coming into the picture, Diwali holidays also came into vogue.
There is not an iota of doubt about the fact that judges need holidays. If a judge works for say, 5 hours in the Court then there is a lot of reading and other work including going through relevant cases and legal provisions that goes into this. And a judge must do this at a stretch which takes a huge toll necessitating adequate rest. However, considering the backdrop of huge backlog and pendency of cases before the Indian judiciary, there is a need to start thinking towards practical solutions. It is definitely the need of the hour to fill up vacancies in order to bring down the pendency of cases. Other practical solutions like spreading over vacations must also be considered. It is not that all the judges feel the urge of going to vacation at the same time; therefore, there should be some provision whereby judges avail vacation slot according to their liking. This way the Courts will remain more active and the judges will be able to avail leaves when they need them the most.