Access to justice due to the inconveniently situated Supreme Court has been a big problem for people from far-flung places..A Bench presided by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur took serious note of this fact in the petition filed by one Vasanthakumar seeking establishment of National Courts of Appeal at Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai. The Court has made it clear that it will refer the case to a Constitution Bench..During the last hearing, the court had issued notice to the Central government and appointed Senior Advocates KK Venugopal and Salman Khurshid as Amicus Curiae..When the matter was taken up today as item 5, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi made it clear that the Centre is not favourably disposed to the petition..“It will require amendment to the Constitution. I don’t think it is possible or desirable. The proposition that Supreme Court should have benches in different places has already been rejected. Now they are asking for something between High Courts and the Supreme Court. .What about Article 136? 136 has been held to be unamendable and part of the Basic Structure. What all appeals can come to the Supreme Court? We will have to knock down 136.”.Rohatgi also conceded that a lot of unnecessary matters come in appeal under Article 136. He said that the way out is for Supreme Court to exercise restraint..“People always take chances. I have appeared in cases challenging adjournments. According to me, the way out is to strengthen High Courts and Supreme Court exercising restraint under 136 as was originally conceived”..Justice Thakur was, however, not keen to brush aside the matter. He remarked that that the Bar has also contributed to the state of affairs by “persisting with cases during admission”..Amicus Curiae Salman Khurshid opined that the court could consider making use of technology during the admission stage by using video conferencing etc..Senior Advocate KK Venugopal submitted the skewed nature of appeals coming to Supreme Court..“9.5 percent of all appeals are from Delhi. Only 2 percent is from Kerala. The reason is the distance”, he said..The Court then asked Venugopal the way forward..“What would be the questions to be addressed in case the matter is referred to a Constitution Bench?”, asked CJI Thakur..Venugopal then submitted that the following questions could be framed for reference:.“1. Is the Supreme Court in its present structure be able to dispose of cases within a “reasonable time”?.2. What is “reasonable time” within which cases have to be disposed so that it does not affect the right to access to justice?.3. If it is not possible to dispose case within ‘reasonable time’ then how many more judges would be required?.4. If that affects quality of judgments, then can intermediate courts be constituted?”.The Court has now asked the Attorney General and Amicus Curiae to submit their suggestions and posted the matter before a 3-judge Bench so that the matter can be referred to a Constitution Bench. The case will now be heard in the week beginning on April 4.