Supreme Court on Friday i.e. 15th May 2020 decided to cancel summer vacations and continue to work until June 19, 2020.
The Apex Court has been functioning in reduced capacity since March 13, 2020 and taking up matters of extreme importance only due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 lockdown. Through the “circulation of view,” a meeting was conducted by the top court and it was decided to continue working as much as possible, no less than until June 19, 2020.
The Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde after considering the opinions of SC judges in a full-court meeting through “circulation of views” decided not to grant summer vacation at least till June 19, 2020. This also means that the Summer Vacation will be restricted to 2 weeks, instead of the usual two-months long courts vacation every year. As per the calendar, Supreme Court was set to go on summer break from May 18, 2020 till July 6, 2020, with May 18, 2020 being the last working day of the top court before the summer vacation. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court Bar Association led by President Dushyant Dave appealed to cancel the summer vacation to compensate for the work losses of the court and the litigants’ subsequent sufferings due to COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown. The Notification dated 15th May 2020 by the Supreme Court reads, “ In partial modification of Notification of even number dated 14th October 2019 notifying the list of Supreme Court Holidays, 2020 and the Summer Vacation of the Court, it is hereby notified that five-week period from 18th May 2020 to 19th June 2020 (both days inclusive) of the Summer Vacation of the Supreme Court Calendar 2020 has been rescheduled and declared a period of functioning of the Hon’ble Court. The rest of the aforesaid Notification dated 14th October 2019 remains unchanged”.
The Top Court was under complete shutdown due to the COVID-19 threat and was only hearing the matters of extreme importance since March 23 via video conferencing without the personal presence of lawyers. A circular dated March 23, 2020 was issued by the Top Court which suspended the entry of lawyers and litigants to the court premises and directed that only extremely urgent matters will be taken up for the hearing through the video conferencing during the lockdown period. With the court now deciding on functioning till June 19, the Chief Justice of India will take a call on Summer Vacation at a later date. On similar lines, many High Court have already canceled their summer vacations to make up for the work loss suffered due to COVID-19 lockdown.