The Supreme Court, which has been hearing urgent matters through video-conferencing from March 25 due to COVID-19 pandemic, on Friday decided to postpone its summer vacation by five weeks and declared that it would remain functional from May 18 to June 19.
As per the October 14 notification, the summer vacation would have started from May 18 and concluded on July 5 (both days inclusive) in the apex court.
“In partial modification of Notification of even number dated October 14, 2019 notifying the list of Supreme Court holidays, 2020 and the summer vacation of the court, it is hereby notified that the five-week period from May 18, 2020 to June 19 (both days inclusive) of the summer vacation of the SC calendar 2020 has been rescheduled and declared as period of functioning of the court,” the apex court notification said.
It said that the earlier notification on the list of holidays would remain unchanged.
The decision has been taken by the judges of the apex court in its virtual full court meeting and it has also been resolved that Chief Justice of India S A Bobde will keep an eye on developing situation.
The decision to shorten the summer vacation has been hailed by Supreme Court Bar Association president Dushant Dave who also said that the apex court should take all steps to help poor citizens in the present crisis.
The apex court, since March 25, has been holding courts through video conferencing due to the nation-wide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus and had suspended the entry of advocates and other staff into the high security zone on the basis of their proximity cards, till further orders.
The SCBA, on April 11, had appealed to the CJI and his companion judges to declare cancellation of summer vacation and treat it as working period of apex court in the larger interest of the litigants and interest of justice in view of ongoing nationwide lockdown.
Meanwhile, the top court has started a pilot project in which judges may come to the courtrooms in the apex court premises from next week to hold proceedings through video conferencing.
During the lockdown, the benches usually assemble at the residences of the judges and the lawyers are allowed to join the video conferencing from their homes or offices.