The Supreme Court on Friday sought response of the central government on a petition seeking the establishment of a National Court of Appeal with regional benches at Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata.
A bench of Chief Justice T. S. Thakur, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit issued notice on a plea by advocate V. Vasanthakumar seeking direction to the law and justice ministry to reconsider his representation for setting up of the National Court of Appeal with three regional centres.
The petitioner has sought implementation of the 1986 suggestion by the apex court constitution bench for establishment of National Court of Appeal with its three regional benches within a such reasonable time as he questioned the legality of the law ministry's response declining his November 21, 2013 representation for the purpose as suggested by the constitution bench and by the Law Commission in two of its reports.
Referring to the constitution's article 130 which says that Supreme Court shall be located in Delhi, the ministry in its December 3, 2014 reply to Vasanthakumar had said that idea of separate National Court of Appeal with regional branches has not found favour with successive Chief Justice of India with whom it was discussed.
Pointing to the geographical vastness of the country spread over 3. 29 million kms and regional and linguistic diversities, the petitioner pointed to the hardship including that of boarding and lodging that litigants coming from south face in coming to Supreme Court in Delhi to agitate their matters.
He contended that the establishment of a National Court of Appeal "would considerably reduce the cost of litigation and would enable the litigants to have the services of the lawyer who appeared for them before the high court".
To buttress his point, he cited figures which say that the lowest number of cases were coming the apex court from the South.
Referring to an article in a newspaper, Vasanthakumar said: "Of all the cases filed in this court, the highest number are from high courts in northern states; 12 percent from Delhi, 8. 9 percent from Punjab and Haryana, seven percent from Uttarkhand, 4. 3 percent from Himachal Pradesh, etc. The lowest figures are from the southern high courts: Kerala 2. 5 percent, Andhra Pradesh 2. 8 percent, and 1. 1 percent from Madras High Court. "