Sovereign function doesn’t go on vacation: Congress MP Vivek Tankha

Congressman Vivek Tanka talks to Damini Nath about his suggestion of no court furloughs

What is your suggestion exactly?

My suggestion is that the courts are an ongoing activity… There is no question that the courts are on vacation. This is a colonial concept. Judges and lawyers can go on vacation.

Why do you feel the need for this change?

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The court can never stop working because people have bail applications and other important cases. Nearly 5 crore cases are pending in India. Judicial reforms must start from within… like a government that never stops working. This (courts) is also a job, a sovereign’s job, a sovereign’s job not to go on vacation.

In your experience, how much do long vacations affect justice?

Out of the 365 days, the Supreme Court operates for 210-215 days and the Supreme Courts operate for 210 days. In addition, not in Delhi but in other high courts, you have strikes and condolences, so at the end of the day, they may be working for 180 or 200 days. If I can run for 300 days, the system can run for 300 days, see how many instances can be thrown away. Half the time the judges don’t go on vacation, how often will you go to the hill station? They can go on vacation as they need, and the institution must continue to function.

How is this issue dealt with in other countries?

There is no concept of court holidays in other countries. This was a concept that started with British judges as they used to go back to England. They don’t have holidays in England, but they do in India.

Do you think it will be acceptable to the court? Is it appropriate for the Minister of Law to submit this proposal to the court?

It is the feeling of the nation and everyone feels the need for reform. We’re not taking their facilities, nor are we saying they won’t get a vacation. They will get their leave for one month or any number of days to be decided. There is nothing wrong if the Minister of Law submits the proposal. Even the Parliamentary Standing Committee can submit the proposal. This is in the public interest.