Long court vacations: Here’s CJI Chandrachud’s take on off days for Supreme Court judges

The Chief Justice of India argued that all judges of the Supreme Court work seven days a week, without exception.

DY Chandrachud

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud has defended the vacations for Supreme Court judges and said the time is spent thinking about the cases, reading about the laws, and reflecting on the impact of their work on society. Speaking at the India Today Conclave, CJI Chandrachud said judges of the Supreme Court sit for 200 days a year, faring much better than several of their counterparts across the world.

The American Supreme Court sits for around 80 days annually, the Australian High Court sits less than 100 days in a year, Singapore sits for 145 days a year, the CJI said.

The CJI further said that judges of the top court handle about 40-60 cases on a daily basis. “The work that we do during this time in the Supreme Court is a fraction of the work which we do. In order to be ready for the cases which will come up the next day, you spend an equal amount of time in the evenings reading for the next day. Our judgments are in reserve,” the CJI said.

CJI Chandrachud then claimed that every judge of the Supreme Court invariably works seven days a week and went on to detail how they spend their time on weekends.

“So on Saturdays typically, every judge of the Supreme Court will sit down and dictate judgments. On Sunday, all of us sit down and read for Monday. Without exception, every judge of the Supreme Court works for seven days a week.”

Addressing the issue of long vacations, the CJI said that the time is spent on preparing judgments which have been reserved since the judges find no time during the week. “What people don’t know is, that most of the time in the vacation is spent on preparing judgments which you have kept in reserve because you’ve just no time during the week when you are working seven days just trying to keep ahead of the curve to deal with your cases,” he added.

The CJI further stressed that judging is not just about disposing of cases. “It’s not just about the statistics. It’s about thinking through your cases. It’s about reading the law, reading about where the law is going in other jurisdictions, thinking about where you want our society to be in terms of the output which you are going to produce. So unless you give your judges time to introspect, reflect, think about the work which you are going to do, you are not going to have a quality of justice,” he added.

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First published on: 20-03-2023 at 14:01 IST