Vaiko appeals for Supreme Court bench in South India
MDMK General Secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Vaiko on Wednesday raised the long-standing demand in the Upper House of Parliament of setting up a bench of the Supreme Court in South India for the convenience of litigants.
Raising the issue in Zero Hour, Vaiko said a bench of the Supreme Court in Chennai will ease the backlog of cases in the apex court, which stood at 54,013.
He contended that the cost of travelling to New Delhi was preventing South India’s marginal and poor from accessing the Supreme Court.
“If a petitioner wants to appeal the High Court’s order, he or she has to reach New Delhi. However, the boarding charge, advocate fee, travel fee are a burden for the poor people from South India. So, establishing a regional bench of Supreme Court in South India would ensure the justice for downtrodden and poor,” Vaiko said.
“The Chief Justice could approach the President of India to set up a bench of the Supreme Court in south India. The CJI may do this under Article 130,” the MDMK MP argued.
Sudha Ramalingam, a senior advocate with Madras High Court, concurred with Vaiko that it is the need of the hour to establish a bench of the SC in southern India.
“While the High Courts like Madras High Court and Bombay High Court have their benches, the SC can also have its bench in South India. It is too hard for poor people to approach the SC in New Delhi,” Ramalingam said.
It might be recalled the Tamil Nadu’s ruling party – the AIADMK - in its Lok Sabha election manifesto had promised that it would take steps to set up a bench of the SC in the state.
“The AIADMK joint-coordinator and CM Edappadi K Palaniswami had already submitted a petition demanding the formation SC bench in Tamil Nadu to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We hope that this would be done soon,” said AIADMK spokesperson Babu Murugavel.
The demand for a regional bench of the Apex Court is not a new one and was first raised in 2009. When advocates in Tamil Nadu raised the request ten years ago, the Law Commission had also suggested the SC set up a regional bench. However, the Supreme Court rejected the suggestion. The law commission had suggested that there should be a constitution bench in the New Delhi and four cassation courts in four regions of the country which could reverse the orders of the lower courts.