NCA would be self-defeating exercise, Centre tells SC

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New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) The government on Thursday opposed the plea for the setting of National Court of Appeal (NCA) with regional benches in Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, saying that it would be a self-defeating exercise as it would eventually result into adding another stage in the higher judiciary.

Telling a bench of Chief Justice T.S.Thakur, Justice R.Banumathi and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit that “it is a self-defeating exercise”, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi asked “what is the purpose of having another court of appeal”.

“Right to come (approach) to the supreme court was an inalienable right, it can’t be shut by leaving it to another court,” he said, adding that in every case that will be decided by the suggested NCA, the losing party will say that it involves the question of constitution and come to the apex court.

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After hearing the attorney general, the court reserved its order on the plea.

The top court was moved by V.Vasantha Kumar in a PIL seeking the setting of NCA with regional benches in Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

Rohatgi said the real aim was to reduce the number of cases coming to the top court, and the same could be achieved by taking self-corrective measure to curb the unrestricted flow of cases.

“You say that Supreme Court has become a court of appeal… who has created this situation,” Chief Justice Thakur asked the attorney general as he said that the top court was viewed as constitutional court but it has been reduced to a court of appeal.

Rohatgi blamed the bar for the current state of affairs even in the top court as he said that in the cheque bouncing cases, why can’t the court ask the people to go back and make the payment, and all kinds of technical grounds are allowed to be raised.

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Admitting that the entire issue needed to be debated, he said that the apex court was not the platform for such an exercise and the Law Commission could be tasked with it.

Earlier addressing the court, amicus curiae K.K.Venugopal said that the 80 percent of the cases before the apex court were appeals involving matrimonial disputes, bails and cheque bounce cases, which could be restricted if the NCA was set up.

He said that the Supreme Court being the top court should take up 20 percent of the cases which involves constitutional issues.

He answered in affirmative when the chief justice asked whether what he meant by the NCA that there should be another layer between the high court and the Supreme Court.

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