Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India shall now be governed by the Supreme Court Rules of 2013 following the notification of the same in the Gazette of India, it was reported on Wednesday.
As per reports, these rules replace the earlier Supreme Court Rules of 1966, and will come into force from August 19, 2014.
These rules aim at simplifying the procedures to be followed in the normal functioning of the apex court. As per the new rules, approved by Chief Justice of India R M Lodha, appeal in death cases shall not be heard by less than 3 judges.
Court fees to file a case has now been increased 10 times – from existing Rs 50 to Rs 500.
Now, the fee for filing an affidavit has been hiked from Rs 2 to 20.
As per the new rules, the security in filing election related petition has also been increased from Rs 20,000 to 50,000.
Apart from this, the apex court has also decided to curtail its summer vacation from a maximum ten weeks to seven weeks.
The declaration of a shorter summer vacation for the top court has found mention in the Gazette notification on the new regulations, to be called the Supreme Court Rules, 2013.
The move is being seen as the CJI’s will to cut down on the long holidays and have more working days for the court, Order II, Rule 4, Sub-rule 2 of the notification says, “The period of the summer vacation shall not exceed seven weeks.” This period was fixed as not exceeding 10 weeks under the 1966 Rules.
The Supreme Court goes on summer vacation for not less than 45 days on an average every year. This year, the vacation lasted 49 days. With other holidays, the SC functions for less than nine months every year.
Even as the maximum number of court holidays under the new rules remains constant at 103 days in a year, a shorter summer vacation will mean fewer yearly holidays.
Since taking over as CJI, Justice Lodha has been trying to push for more working days in courts across the country. Justice Lodha had written to Chief Justices of all High Courts for their views on a 365-day work calendar, amid growing criticism from various quarters on the staggering pendency of cases. The CJI had pointed out that the SC currently works for 193 days, High Courts for 210 days and trial courts for 245 days a year.
He had suggested that instead of the courts closing for vacations, judges should be allowed to take leave according to their convenience.
The Law Commission in its report in 2009 had recommended that vacations in the higher judiciary should be curtailed by at least 10 to 15 days.
However, the CJI’s proposal has not found enough support from lawyers’ bodies, including the Bar Council of India and the SC Bar Association, which said that the proposition was not feasible.