Vice President Bats For Regional Benches Of Supreme Court
The SC should have separate divisions to deal with appeals and constitutional issues, he suggested.
Emphasizing on the measures to clear judicial backlog, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu favoured the setting up of regional benches for the Supreme Court in four major cities.
"It is high time to have Supreme Court Benches in at least four major cities. One could be established in Chennai to start with," he said, on the occasion of the launch of his book titled ''Listening, Learning and Leading" on completing two years in office as Vice President, reports the Rajya Sabha TV.
Concurring with the recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice to have separate benches in different regions, the Vice President said "I think it is high time we had more benches because in a country as vast as India the litigants have to travel long distances and spend a huge amount of money and energy"'.
He suggested that the Supreme Court should have two divisions– one dealing with Constitutional matters and another with appeals.
He also lamented the delay in deciding election petitions and criminal cases. Delaying the decision on election petitions and anti-defection proceedings until the expiry of term of the legislators defeats the very purpose of these laws, he added.
Vice President Naidu also referred to the figures mentioned by the Chief Justice of India recently about heavy pendency of cases in various courts and said "apparently, there are nearly 60,000 cases pending in the Supreme Court and nearly 44 lakh cases in the High Courts. We need to take action to reduce this heavy pendency. Justice delayed, as is often said, is justice denied", he added.
The decision of the Central Government to increase the number of judges in the Supreme Court will help clearing the arrears, he expressed.
A PIL filed by Advocate V Vasanthkumar from Chennai seeking the establishment of National Court of Appeals at four regions in the country to deal with appeals from High Courts is pending in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court should deal only with constitutional matters, the PIL suggests.
In 2016, a three judges bench headed by the then CJI T S Thakur had referred the matter to Constitution Bench.
While the then Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had opposed the idea, the present Attorney General K K Venugopal, who was appointed as amicus curiae in the matter, supported the same.
(The full text of Vice President's speech may be read here)