Punjab and Haryana HC cancels summer vacations for itself and lower courts [Read Order]

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Two months after the Punjab and Haryana High Court went into restricted functioning mode following the Covid outbreak, it has decided to cancel the summer vacations for itself and the subordinate courts in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

The cases would continue to be heard in the High Court through videoconferencing during the period.

This is the first time in recallable past that the vacations have been cancelled, even though the High Court has been taking a break from the summer holidays to a limited extent for adjudicating appeals pending in criminal matters only.

An order passed on behalf of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha Saturday said it was notified for general information that the ensuing summer vacations in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh from June 1 to June 26, both days inclusive, stood cancelled.

The order added the court would continue to function with the present arrangement of filing, listing and hearing of the cases through video conferencing, subject to the roster being prepared by the Chief Justice.

It was further notified that the ensuing summer vacations in the subordinate courts in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh from June 1 to June 30, both days inclusive, also stood cancelled and the courts would function with the present arrangement of hearing of cases.

The order comes at a time when the total pending cases in Haryana is 8,92,041, while no less than 6,46,342 cases are awaiting adjudication in Punjab. Even a small Union Territory like Chandigarh has 49,268 cases pending.

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National Judicial Data Grid figures reveal more than 5.6 lakh cases are pending in the High Court alone. It is suspected that many of the petitioners in these cases are no more there to pursue their grievances. When some of these cases are suddenly listed, the counsel are often at a loss in the absence of complete records or instructions.

Even though the High Court has been making concerted efforts to bring down the pendency, the number of old pending cases has been piling up progressively; and with the Covid lockdown and shortage of Judges, the piles are unlikely to shrink easily. The High Court, as of now, has 55 Judges against the sanctioned strength of 85. Three Judges are scheduled to retire this year upon attaining the age of superannuation.

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Read Order here: