The Centre on Tuesday strongly opposed the plea seeking setting up of National Court of Appeal with regional benches in major cities for deciding cases arising from high courts, saying that it is a “fruitless endeavour” and will not lessen the burden of two crore cases pending in trial courts.
“The idea is to grant justice at lower level. What the court of appeal will do as there are two crore cases pending in the lower court in comparison to fifty thousand cases at the Supreme Court,” Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told a bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur.
“We will only be adding to lawyers’ pockets. The Supreme Court should not consider this when it’s own dockets are full,” he said to the bench also comprising Justices R Banumathi and U U Lalit.
Rohatgi termed the hearing as “fruitless endeavour” on various grounds including the fact that the Constitution does not permit it.
At the outset, the bench asked the Attorney General to look into the suggestions advanced by senior advocate K K Venugopal, who has been appointed as an amicus curiae, on the issue.
“We will refer the matter to a larger bench...We will examine this as to whether this court has power to issue directions or recommendations on this,” the bench said.
The apex court had earlier said it may refer to a five-judge constitution bench the plea seeking setting up of National Court of Appeal.
The court had also asked Rohatgi to assist Venugopal in formulating “suggestions and points” for its consideration in the case.
The apex court was hearing a PIL by Puducherry-based V Vasanthakumar pressing for setting up of a National Court of appeal at Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata and quashing of the government order rejecting his proposal on the issue.
In February 2014, Kumar had moved the apex court with the same prayer when it had disposed of the matter directing the Centre to respond to his suggestion within six months.
Later, the Centre rejected his suggestion on the ground that it would require an amendment in Article 130 of the Constitution which “is impermissible as this would change the constitution of the Supreme Court completely.”
Vasanthakumar has now approached the apex court again seeking quashing of this decision of the central government.