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Chief Justice of India SA Bobde today expressed the need to devise a mechanism to tackle the menace of overcrowding of courtrooms in the Supreme Court.
The observation was made just before the Bench headed by CJI Bobde was scheduled to hear the batch of over 140 petitions concerning the Citizenship Amendment Act. The listing of this matter naturally led to a jam packed, overcrowded, and noisy Court Room 1.
When Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal was about to begin making a mentioning for a case before the Court, the CJI, miffed by the noise coming from the back of the Courtroom, said that overcrowding has become a severe problem. It leads to instances where people are pushed.
Attorney General for India KK Venugopal, who was also present in Court, immediately rose to tell the Court that this is a problem not only in the Courtroom, but also in the corridors. This remark by the AG ironically had to be repeated for the Bench to be able to hear it on account of the noise from the back of the Courtroom.
Among the various suggestions that came from different senior members of the Bar present in the Courtroom at the time was one pertaining to restricting entry of people into the Court.
Senior Counsel Rajeev Dhavan suggested installing guards or Marshalls in the Courtroom who would see to it that decorum is maintained and no pushing takes place. Senior Counsel Indira Jaising said that there were many instances of women being pushed in crowded Courtrooms, to which the CJI said any kind of pushing is bad, and not required.
Sibal assured the Court that the lawyers are being urged to follow all rules of discipline and decorum religiously. Advocate Prashant Bhushan made a suggestion to the Court pertaining to fixing the number of cases a Bench would take up every hour. This would weed out the lawyers who wait inside the Courtroom for their case to come up for hearing.
AG Venugopal weighed in at this point, telling the Court that some steps positively need to be taken. Proceedings in Courts cannot continue to go on in this fashion, he said.
CJI Bobde told the Attorney General that he is mulling over bringing in a set practice for lawyers who line up to mention cases. The aisles in the Courtroom will be demarcated for entry or exit only to ensure the smooth movement of lawyers in the Courtroom. He also opined that a lectern may be placed in the front for the arguing counsel to make submissions.
AG Venugopal agreed with the proposal of the Chief Justice.
Before moving on to hear the cases, CJI Bobde told the senior members of the Bar positioned in the front of the Courtroom that he intends to hold a meeting with them in the near future to come up with a solution to tackle the problem of crowded and noisy Courtrooms.