Over 150 lawyers approach CJI over 'unprecedented' communication to vacation judges

Lawyers concerned over purported communication from district judge asking vacation judges to not pass final order during court recess

CJI D.Y. Chandrachud (file photo)
CJI D.Y. Chandrachud (file photo)


More than 150 lawyers sent a representation to Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Thursday expressing concern over a purported internal communication from a district judge in Delhi asking vacation judges of trial courts to not pass a final order in pending cases during a court recess, calling it "unprecedented".

The representation assumes significance as it was sent in the wake of vacation judge Nyay Bindu granting bail to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on 20 June in a money laundering case linked to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam. The bail order was later stayed by Delhi High Court on the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) appeal.

“We are writing on behalf of the legal fraternity… regarding some unprecedented practices being witnessed in the Delhi High Court and the district courts of Delhi,” it said.

The communication signed by 157 lawyers said additional sessions judge Bindu had granted bail to Kejriwal while quoting the CJI that trial courts needed to make speedy and bold decisions so that higher courts are not clogged with cases.

“However, on the very next day, the ED challenged this order in the Delhi High Court. What makes this challenge extremely irregular is the fact that the challenge was done even before the Rouse Avenue Court order was uploaded (on the website),” the representation said.

The representation also bears the signature of lawyer Sanjeev Nasiar, the chief of Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) legal cell.

Referring to the urgent listing, hearing and stay of the trial court’s bail order by the high court, the representation said, “Something like this has never been seen in the history of the Indian judiciary before this and this has raised deep concerns in the mind of the legal fraternity.”

It said the alleged internal communication asking vacation judges of the trial courts to not pass any substantive order has defeated the purpose of forming vacation benches and also violated the spirit of statements by the CJI asking trial courts to make speedy decisions.

“As a consequence, many lawyers who had cases listed in the vacation have not been able to have final disposal of their matters. We as representatives of the lawyers community would like to lodge a very strong objection against such an administrative order,” the representation said.

On 2 July, lawyers affiliated to the Delhi Lawyers' Association had met a district judge and objected to the purported internal communication. District courts in Delhi were closed for summer vacations from 10 to 29 June. Judicial officers take turns to act as vacation judges during vacations.

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