Vacation Bench can only decide bail applications, pass interim orders in emergent matters; cannot dispose of matters on merits: Patna High Court
In Prof (Dr.) Shlok Kumar Chakravarti v The State of Bihar, the Patna High Court stated that a vacation bench of the High Court cannot determine and dispose of any issue on merits (Prof (Dr.) Shlok Kumar Chakravarti v The State of Bihar). According to the Patna High Court Rules of 1916, a vacation bench can issue temporary rulings on urgent petitions but cannot determine or dispose of them in the long run, according to the Court. A single judge Bench of Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh emphasised that it can only consider and decide on merits bail applications. "A vacation judge may grant bail in criminal situations and issue ‘interim orders' only in such other issues, civil or under the Constitution, as he may deems emergent, but he cannot determine and dispose of a case on merits," the Court stated. The Court relied on the language of Rule 4 of Chapter II of the Patna High Court Rules, 1916 in this regard. "Apparently, a Single Judge, while functioning as a vacation judge, may serve notice or Rule, as the case may be, in any criminal action, and in such other issues, civil or under the Constitution, ‘as he may consider emergent,' and may also grant interim decisions relating stay, injunction, bail, and other reliefs, as may be judged necessary," the Court added. When the subject came up for hearing, the Bench referred to Rule 4 of Chapter II, which outlines the powers that a single-judge can exercise while serving as a vacation judge for an extended period of time. The Court noted that none of the parties to the plea made any mention of the application being heard urgently during the vacation. As a result, it was determined that the subject could not be taken up and settled during the annual vacation according to the rules of Rule 4 of Chapter II.