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AG Bats For Setting Up Four 'Courts Of Appeal', Says It Will Solve The Problem Of Case Pendency [Read Speech]

15 Aug 2019 3:17 PM GMT
AG Bats For Setting Up Four Courts Of Appeal, Says It Will Solve The Problem Of Case Pendency [Read Speech]
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In his speech delivered at the Independence day function today at the Supreme Court, the Attorney General of India KK Venugopal has mooted the idea of having Courts of Appeal.

According to the Attorney General, these four Courts of Appeal should be located in the four regions of the country in the vicinity of the three Charter High Courts and of the Supreme Court. This comes after the suggestion made by the Vice President Venkaiah Naidu who favoured the setting up of regional benches for the Supreme Court in four major cities.

SC Was Created As A Constitutional Court- Now Converted Itself Into A Routine Court of Appeal

The Attorney General said that the Supreme Court , originally, was created as a Constitutional Court, but somewhere in the late 70s, 'the philosophy of the Court turned itself towards seeking to wipe away every tear from every eye.' He said:

This would mean that there would be cases being entertained by the Supreme Court where the Court holds that injustice has been done to a particular individual or a company or that an error existed in the judgment of the High Court or the Tribunal, whether of fact or of law. What this means is that the Constitutional Court has converted itself over the years into a routine Court of Appeal like any other Appellate Court.

He said that the true function of the Supreme Court would be the following:

  • 1. All matters involving substantial questions of law relating to the interpretation of the Constitution of India or matters of national or public importance
  • 2. Settling differences of opinion on important issues of law between High Courts or between Courts of Appeal;
  • 3. Validity of laws, Central and State
  • 4. After the Kesavananda Bharati case, (1973) 4 sec 217, the judicial review of Constitutional Amendments;
  • 5. Resolving conflicts between States and the Centre or between two States, as well the original jurisdiction to dispose of suits in this regard; and
  • 6. Presidential References under Article 143 of the Constitution.

Four Court Of Appeal Would Reduce Judicial Backlog

Further explaining his concept of having Courts of Appeal, the Attorney General said:

If the Supreme Court of India were to don the true mantle of an Apex Court of a country, it would have to deal with, perhaps, not more than 2000 to 3000 cases a year. We would not require 100 Judges nor 34 Judges but only about 15 to 20 Judges.

Each of the four Courts of Appeal would consist of 15 Judges who would sit in Benches of not less than 3. This would mean that we would be adding 60 Judges to be elevated from among the High Court Judges by the Collegium just as in the case of Supreme Court judges. The decision in all the matters, other than those mentioned above, would be final and there would be no further appeal to the Supreme Court. If any issue arose as to whether a case would fall within the competence of the Supreme Court or not, among the six heads mentioned earlier, the decision of the Supreme Court would be final.

The Attorney General concluded his speech with these words:

We are honoured that we have the Chief Justice and the Judges of the Supreme Court with us as well as the Minister of Law and Justice. I understand that the conference of the Chief Justices of the High Court and the Chief Ministers of the States would be held shortly. Perhaps, if the Government and the Supreme Court are prepared to examine this scheme, which would require amendments to the Constitution, then I have no doubt that there will not be any case pending either in the Courts of Appeal or the Supreme Court of India for more than two years. This would be the greatest boon that could be granted to the people of this country on the 73rd anniversary of the independence of the country. 

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