Attorney General KK Venugopal wants four Courts of Appeal to hear appeals from High Courts
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Attorney General KK Venugopal wants four Courts of Appeal to hear appeals from High Courts

Shruti Mahajan

Attorney General for India KK Venugopal took the opportunity on the 73rd Independence Day celebrations to bat for setting up of Courts of Appeal between High Courts and the Supreme Court.

Having gone through the causelist of the Supreme Court for August 14, Venugopal said that he found appeals listed before the Supreme Court that have been pending for over 13 years. Right to speedy justice is a fundamental right of the people of India as has been held by the Supreme Court in various judgments, Venugopal said further adding that the lawyers, judges, and the government are failing the citizens in this regard.

The issue of pendency is a grave one and merely increasing the strength of the Judges in the Supreme Court, which would consequently increase the number of Benches to hear cases, will not solve the problem, Venugopal said. The Attorney General then went on to make a case for the need for Courts of Appeal to combat the pendency problem.

“It was never intended for the Apex Court of the country to deal with issues that can attain finality in lower Courts”, AG KK Venugopal said.

Recalling that the Supreme Court was meant to be a Constitutional Court, Venugopal said that the Supreme Court needs to unburden itself by delegating appeals from High Courts to Courts of appeals which would sit between the High Courts and the Supreme Court. He batted for four such Courts to be set up in four regions of the country, each having a strength of fifteen Judges.

Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was also in attendance at the Independence Day function, however, took an opposing view.

Prasad argued that while Venugopal spoke like a true jurist, there are certain issues which need to be settled by the top court of the country. While there are times when some judgments are based on “questionable legal standing”, there is also an issue of certain High Courts entertaining Public Interest Litigations which can result in the running of a parallel administration, Prasad said. Therefore, an in-house mechanism is required to ensure judicial accountability, propriety, and discipline, the Law Minister said.

Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad
Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who was the Chief Guest for the occasion, spoke about the preparedness of the Supreme Court to cater to its large number of litigants, especially with the Court functioning at its full strength and with the Parliament increasing the strength of the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi

The celebration of 73rd Independence Day at the Supreme Court was marked by CJI Gogoi hoisting the National Flag in the Supreme Court lawns. SCBA President Rakesh Khanna and Vice President Jitendra Mohan Sharma also spoke on the occasion.

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