26 Nov 2021 3:31 PM GMT
While delivering his address on the Constitution Day Celebrations at Vigyan Bhavan, the Attorney General for India KK Venugopal today spoke about the need for creation of Court of Appeals in at least 4 regions (North, South, West and East) with 15 judges consisting of 3 benches of 3 judges each. "I would envisage at least 4 regions, North, South, West and East each having a Court of Appeal...
While delivering his address on the Constitution Day Celebrations at Vigyan Bhavan, the Attorney General for India KK Venugopal today spoke about the need for creation of Court of Appeals in at least 4 regions (North, South, West and East) with 15 judges consisting of 3 benches of 3 judges each.
"I would envisage at least 4 regions, North, South, West and East each having a Court of Appeal with 15 judges consisting of 3 benches of 3 judges each.
We're adding 60 judges who would be taking over the cases so that the pendency would be cut down to a very great extent. It would be reduced so that you'll be able to get the cases disposed of within a period of 3 or 4 years. This would mean that the Supreme Court would not require 34 judges which it has now. Once it is relieved of all this burden of rent control, matrimonial and so on and so on the result of it is that 15 judges sitting in 3 constitution benches of 5 each would be sufficient to dispose of cases of Constitutional Nature something or where death sentence is involved or constitutional requirement of references or so on," AG said.
The Attorney General commenced his speech by saying that over the last 75 years a big question that had been posed was whether the Supreme Court was a Constitutional Court.
He further said that today the Supreme Court had expanded its coverage to cases to include every single case decided by the High Court as long as there was an error in judgement, the law had not been stated correctly and that there were serious errors of facts.
In this background he said,
"Now this means that so far as the Supreme Court is concerned, it can't truly claim to be a constitutional court. You have to remember that so far as western Apex Courts are concerned, they have managed their work in a manner where they are able to dispose of their cases within a period of 2 years. But what is the real situation so far as India is concerned. We find that in Supreme Court list there are criminal cases pending from 2008, civil cases pending from 2009 and if its pending in SC for 12 years then one should consider to account that the cases have come from Trial Courts and High Court's where they have been pending for 10 years and about 8/10 years in Supreme Court as well."
Relying on the proposal initiated in 2010, AG said that today there was a need for the Courts of Appeal to absorb all the cases (matrimonial, rent control, acquisition cases etc) which had not to do with the Constitution or interpretation of Constitution.
"Now in this background it is time to set back in thought as to whether there is a solution. The solution that was suggested in 2010 onwards is that there should be what is known as Courts of Appeal. Most of the western countries, not because they are western, but these are common law countries and we are common law countries as well, most of them so far as they are concerned, they have an intermediate court of appeal between the High Courts and Apex Court of the country and that is a court of appeal which absorbs all these cases of a nature which is other than constitutional case, which the Supreme Court has been doing today but which should be taken over by the Courts of Appeal. The judgments of the Courts of Appeal would be final and there would be no appeal from that."
In support of this, the AG said that this would enable the judges of the Supreme Court to sit back and hear the cases patiently, write excellent judgments, read text books of law written in different countries and incorporate the same in their judgements.
Referring to Justice KK Mathew's article in which he had said that he could envisage in due course the Supreme Court consisting of as many as 100 judges, AG said, "If this is to be true then I would say that so far as we are concerned, we are admitting to a failure to the regulating structure of our court system in a manner where it would be able to bring justice swiftly and at reasonable prices to the litigants of this country."
He also said that time had come when there was a need to rethink the entire structure of the Supreme Court as it existed today because there was no use brushing everything under the carpet.
Adding that whatever reforms that were going to be implemented should not be restricted to Supreme Court but also be applied for High Courts and Trial Courts, AG KK Venugopal posed a question,
"Are we aware of the fact as to what suffering a litigant undergoes when the Trial Court proceedings go on and they wait and each time the case gets adjourned by 6 months and they don't know when the case will be taken up and finished?"
During the course of his address, AG also urged for doing away with the cumbersome procedure adopted in our country for disposal of cases.
"Today we have inherited a system extremely cumbersome where the procedure in the CPC which is a fat book would result necessarily in delaying the disposal of cases. The criminal cases of course have a procedure which gives a full right of defence of the accused, but I think that the cumbersome procedure should be done away with," said AG.
"It should be remembered that as far as the right to access of Justice is concerned, it is a Fundamental Right and being a Fundamental Right it should mean that we give access to justice at reasonable cost and within a reasonable time. 30 years is not a reasonable time."
While concluding his speech AG said that time had come for the Government and Judiciary to put their heads together to change the structure of the functioning of the courts.
"We have Writ Petitions which can be filed and disposed of within a period of 10 days but this would never be done if you follow the procedure in the CPC. Therefore as far as I am concerned I think time has come when the Government as well as the judiciary should put their heads together because one cannot allow for today's situation to continue because we are not really doing justice. We are ignoring a fundamental right perhaps violating a Fundamental Right by allowing this structure of Courts to remain," AG added.