Government opposes National Court of Appeal with regional benches

New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) The central government on Tuesday opposed plea for the setting-up of a National Court of Appeal with regional centres, saying it was barred under the constitution and in no way help in reducing the pendency of cases in the top court.

“There are constitutional limitations and restrictions, which prohibit the setting up of the National Court of Appeal” and the establishment of the same could not be “seen from an isolated perspective of reducing the backlog of cases”, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told a bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit.

Telling the court that it would not be nothing but adding another step in the ladder of adjudication, he told the court that the problem was not at the apex level with a backlog of 50,000 cases but down below in the subordinate courts clogged with backlog of three crore cases.

“The establishment of the National Court of Appeal cannot be seen from an isolated perspective of reducing the backlog of cases. Adding one more level of adjudication will not help in decreasing litigation but would rather add to it and would be a boon only for the advocates,” he said.

Telling the court that already its docket was already full with little time to take up such pleas, Rohatgi told the court that public interest plea by the petitioner V. Vasanthakumar was not maintainable as the same plea was junked by the Madras High Court on March 5, 2015.

He also said that in pursuance to earlier directions, the central government had considered hisrepresentation for setting up of NCA and had declined the same on December 3, 2014.

He said that there was no violation of Vasanthakumar’s fundamental rights as he has moved the court under Article 32 of the constitution, and his petition was based on the premise that government was under some kind of “constitutional or legal obligation or duty bound to accept” his representation and take steps for the establishment of NCA.

Telling the court that to establish the NCA was a policy decision, he said Vasanthakumar could not seek direction to the central government from the top court to establish NCA as it would “tantamount to direction from (the top) court to the government to enact a law”.

Directing the listing of matter for hearing on Thursday, the bench said that it may not issue a direction for setting up of NCA but it could make recommendations.

The court asked Rohatgi to look into the suggestion given by senior counsel K.K.Venugopal who is amicus curiae in the case.

The apex court had on March 15 said that it would examine the plea for setting up of the NCA with regional benches at Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata to hear appeals against high court verdicts even as the government had said that it was neither feasible nor desirable.

–IANS

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