From June 1 all courts of J&K and Laddakh to follow uniform timings, Five hours work

From June 1 onward, the High Court and lower Courts of Jammu & Kashmir & Ladakh will follow uniform timings all year round, Chief Justice Gita Mittal ordered in an administrative order passed Friday evening. 

The High Court and lower Courts will work for the mandatory five hours from June 1. Currently, as per the timing the Courts were functioning only for four and a half hours, the order observes. 

For the Jammu wing of the High Court the Court timings have been revised to 10 am to 4 pm while for the Srinagar wing the revised schedule is 10:30 am to 4:30 pm. As for district Courts in Jammu, the lower Courts will function from 10 am to 4 pm and in Kashmir & Laddakh they will work from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm.

One of the reasons for the support in change of Court timings was that it was “past practice”. 

Elaborating, the order says that it appears that the genesis of the change of timings for the courts in Jammu & Kashmir was the practice of change of timings followed by the erstwhile Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. A Government Order passed on August 13, 2018 was before the Chief Justice whereby this practice of change of timings stands abandoned by the Government of the Union territory of J&k.

The Chief Justice observed that as per current Court timings there is “loss of precious judicial time of half an hour every day”. The mandatory working hours for Courts is five hours. Passing the order, the Chief Justice also underscored the need for “equal access to Courts for all litigants”. 

The order states “Courts all over the country follow a uniform practice of maintaining the same timing round the year irrespective of the weather. The weather conditions in the Union Territory of J&K are not exceptional to justify change of timings”. 

Ordering uniform Court timings, the Judge said “Clearly ensuring the constitutional rights of every citizen is the primary duty of every judge and any practice which impedes or negatively impacts the same cannot be perpetuated. Litigant from remote areas cannot be denied fundamental right to justice. There is no option but to ensure that the working of both wings of High Court is synchronized”. 

By Priyanka of SPPU