Responding to criticism that judges do not work enough, Justice Prathiba M Singh of the Delhi High Court has brought to light the intense work schedule of judges in India.
Speaking at the LAWASIA conference, Singh said to the common belief that judges have a relatively easy workday, stating that they actually work for 14 to 15 hours a day.
"There is this perception that judges work from 10:30 to 4:30 and then play golf. We work two hours before coming to court. Then sit in court till 4:30. Then do administrative work for an hour before finalising orders and then read tomorrow’s briefs. Let me tell you, judges in India work for 14 to 15 hours a day. We find it very difficult to maintain work-life balance," Justice Singh was quoted as saying by news site Bar and Bench.
The comment comes in the context of discussions about eliminating court vacations to tackle the backlog of cases in the country.
Justice Singh addressed a misconception that has long been held about the judiciary's working hours. She said that a judge's day is not just limited to the official court hours from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM.
In reality, their work begins at least two hours before the court session starts and continues well after it ends, including the time spent on administrative duties and preparing for the following day's cases.
Justice Singh pointed out that the demanding work schedule of judges not only affects them but also takes a toll on their families. She said that the challenge of balancing professional and personal life is not unique to Indian judges but is a shared concern among their counterparts in countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Australia.
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