The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre and the Ministry of Law on the issue of establishment of a National Court of Appeal with regional benches in major cities to finally decide cases arising from High Courts.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by Puducherry-based advocate V. Vasantha Kumar seeking direction for the Centre and departments concerned to consider his November 21, 2013 representation for consideration and implementation of the suggestions made by the apex court in a 1986 judgement to establish a National Court of Appeal with regional benches in major cities.

The petitioner submitted that distance of the apex court in national capital from other parts of the country coupled with high travel expense and cost of litigation were coming in way of citizens from far flung areas to approach the top court of the land which is otherwise also burdened with large scale pendency of cases.

“In this petition, issue of positive nature has been raised. We are issuing notices to respondents (Centre, Legislative Department and Justice Department) seeking for early consideration on representation (by petitioner) made on November 21, 2013,” a bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said while seeking their reply within four weeks.

He referred to the observation in the judgement of Bihar Legal Support Society Versus Chief Justice of India in which the suggestion was made for the National Court of Appeal.

He submitted that the geographical proximity and financial status of citizens in the society are vital factors for every citizen to have access to top court of the land and referred to media reports that of all the cases filed in the Supreme Court, the highest number are from high courts in the northern States — 12 per cent from Delhi, 8.9 per cent from Punjab and Haryana, 7 per cent from Uttarakhand, 4.3 per cent from Himachal Pradesh, etc.

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