Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 26
As the pendency of cases in the Supreme Court keeps rising, Attorney General KK Venugopal on Thursday suggested structural change in the judiciary to set up four courts of appeal to hear appeals from the High Courts and make the top court a truly constitutional court.
“The Supreme Court is the apex court of the country and it should be dealing with only matters of national and constitutional importance,” Venugopal said in his Constitution Day address at a function organised by the Supreme Court. The Constitution should be amended for this purpose, he added.
The four courts of appeal with 15 judges each sitting in four parts of India would reduce the burden of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General said in the virtual presence of President Ram Nath Kovind, CJI SA Bobde, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, senior judges and Bar members.
He pointed out that at present, the Supreme Court was hearing 400 different categories of cases, including matrimonial matters, landlord-tenant disputes, bail matters and land acquisition cases, which the apex court of other countries don’t even touch. Because of this, there were arrears even in criminal matters, he added.
“Now, we can start with a clean slate and the Supreme Court as the apex constitutional court of the country should be burdened with only constitutional cases. Then, as against the 75,000 cases at present, it would have to cater to only 2000 to 3000 cases per year,” Venugopal said. He said similar system of court of appeal was already functional in 20 to 25 common law countries. “Such a court shall hear the matter finally and there should be no further appeal therefrom to the Supreme Court. The judges of the court of appeal shall be selected by the collegium,” the Attorney General said.