The Supreme Court (Establishment of a Permanent Bench at Kolkata) Bill, 2015 has been introduced in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill seeks to establish a permanent Bench of the Supreme Court at Kolkata, as it would be “easily accessible for litigants of central, eastern, south-eastern and especially north-eastern States.”
As per the Bill, the number of Judges for the Court will be decided by the Chief Justice of India, with the approval of the President, till the time the National Judicial Appointments Commission comes into force. However, the number of Judges at the Kolkata bench would not be less than five.
The Supreme Court at Kolkata would exercise jurisdiction in respect of cases arising in the States of West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura and such other territory as may be notified by the Central Government with the approval of the Chief Justice.
The Bill draws its power from Article 130 of the Constitution of India which says that the Supreme Court shall sit in Delhi or in such other place or places as the Chief Justice of India may with the approval of the President from time to time appoint.
According to the State of Objectives and Reasons of the Bill, “The pursuit of justice before law is a costly endeavor which has been made more expensive by chronic delays. The logistical problems encountered by appellants aggravate costs and further delays. Moreover, the appellants are already burdened and are further shunned to face the ordeal of having to travel thousands of kilometers to the seat of the Supreme Court in Delhi for their trial and the consequent follow up of their cases.”
Read the bill here.