As the Supreme Court completed 71 years of its functioning on Thursday, the Chief Justice of India S A Bobde said it is a day fit for commemoration every year.
The CJI pointed out the first sitting of the SC was attended by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru along with his ministers in the Cabinet, and Attorney General M C Setalvad.
He said that in 1950, the top court held its first sitting in the Chamber of Princess. Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who were present in the court agreed that this day should be celebrated.
In the backdrop of Covid-19 protocols and reduced workforce, as many as 1,998 benches of the top court virtually held 43,713 hearings till December 31, 2020.
In a statement on observing the 71st anniversary, the apex court said under the mandate given to it by the Constitution, it has relentlessly marched towards ensuring the protection of rights and liberties of the citizens, upholding rule of law and constitutional values.
It said the court faced various challenges in its journey, but remained committed to its duties and ensured that access to justice remains unhindered.
Citing its functioning through video conferencing, the statement said, “During these unprecedented challenges, the Court remained functional throughout, though number of benches were reduced. Beyond the usual minimum required 190 days Court sittings in a Calendar Year, the Court was functional for 231 days, including 13 vacation sittings in the year 2020. The Registry also remained functional for 271 days as against an average of 268 days in the previous three years.”
The registry’s working strength was affected considerably with 408 officials/staff infected with Covid-19 and an unfortunate loss of life of one official. “However almost 99 per cent of the officials/staff so reported positive for the infection were asymptomatic or with mild symptoms”, added the statement.