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What is Vacation Bench of Supreme Court?

On May 9, the Supreme Court issued a notification about its annual summer holiday beginning May 13. The notice listed the judges who will occupy the Vacation Benches for hearing urgent matters during the period. The Supreme Court’s annual summer break will last till June 30, after around 50 days’ leave.

What is a Vacation bench?

A Vacation Bench of the Supreme Court is a special bench constituted by the Chief Justice of India. The top court of the country takes a total of two long breaks each year, the summer and winter, but it doesn’t fully become closed. The summer breaks begin usually in early May and last nearly two months.

Usually, there are as many as six vacation benches in the Supreme Court during the summer vacation period. Every bench sits for six days, and none of them comprises of more than two judges.

Litigants can approach the Supreme Court and, in case the court decides that the plea is an “urgent matter”, the Vacation Bench hears the case.

In the summer vacation of 2018, after the Karnataka Assembly results were announced, the Karnataka governor’s decision to invite the Bharatiya Janata Party was challenged in the top cort by the Congress party. The matter was heard on and the court passed an interim order to conduct a floor the next day.

The Vacation Bench for the 2019 summer break so far comprises of the following

CJI Gogoi, Sanjiv Khanna, Arun Mishra, L Nageswara Rao, Indu Malhotra, Justices MR Shah, Indira Banerjee, and Ajay Rastogi.

The notice regarding the summer vacation period this year, read, “Under Rule 6 of Order II of The Supreme Court rules, 2013, Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India has nominated the following Division Benches for hearing of urgent miscellaneous matters and regular hearing matters during the summer vacation for the period (First Part) from May 13, 2019 to May 20, 2019, May 21,2019 to May 24, 2019, May 25, 2019 to May 28, 2019 and for the period (Second Part) from May 29, 2019 to May 30, 2019 , May 31, 2019 to June 2, 2019, June 3, 2019 to June 5, 2019, June 6, 2019 to June 13, 2019”

According to the notification, the following Benches will hear the cases

  • May 13 to May 20 – Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna
  • May 21 to May 24 – Justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah
  • May 25 to May 30 – Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice MR Shah
  • May 31 to June 2 – Justices L Nageswara Rao and MR Shah
  • June 3 to June 5 – Justices Indu Malhotra and MR Shah
  • June 6 to June 13 – Justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi

CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice MR Shah will be on the bench during May 25 – May 30, less than 2 days after the results for the Lok Sabha elections 2019 are set to be announced.

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