Hence, the top court cannot issue a direction to the High Court Chief Justice to decide on the working of the High Court, a Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant underscored.
“We cannot issues a mandamus to the High Court Chief Justice. The High Court is not administratively subordinate (to the Supreme Court),” Justice Chandrachud remarked.
The Court was hearing a plea challenging the Bombay High Court’s administrative circular restricting the working hours of the Court from 12 in the afternoon to 3 pm in view of surge in COVID-19 cases.
The plea filed by activist Ghanshyam Upadhyay stated that due to the Standard Operating Procedure issued by the High Court, the Principal Bench of the High Court was “functioning only for namesake,” causing hardships to litigants and advocates.
The plea stated that the fundamental rights of citizens were being jeopardized and that it was a “matter of great concern and public importance”.
However, when the matter was taken up today, the Court was informed that the High Court had already reverted to normal working hours. The Court, therefore, disposed of the plea, noting that the grievance raised by the petitioner has been addressed.
“We don’t know how the bar will react and what are the local conditions. Your grievance is substantially met. Now for further issues you can get in touch with the HC Chief Justice,” said Justice Surya Kant.
Interestingly, Justice Chandrachud who started his judicial career as Bombay High Court judge, highlighted how many staff members who work at the High Court come from far-off places like Pune.
“Staff in Bombay comes from such long distance. They come from Pune by Deccan Queen and go back. My private secretaries used to leave home at 6 am to reach court at 9.30 am,” he reminisced.
Read more about the hearing today here.