This refers to the article “For proximate and speedy justice” (May 1). There is no doubt that the Supreme Court is overburdened and a large number of cases have been pending before it for 10 to 15 years. Being the protector of the fundamental rights of the people, the court should concentrate on its constitutional duties. However, it should take up only such appeals that are of the utmost importance. Kushboo's case did concern the basic issue of freedom of thought, speech and expression, but it was not important enough to be considered by the Supreme Court. It is in this context that the setting up of Courts of Appeal in different regions assumes relevance.
Article 136, which deals with appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, has been referred to a five-judge Constitution Bench to consider whether guidelines are necessary for the exercise of this jurisdiction. It is a positive step. It may result in the setting up of regional appellate courts, leading to improved efficiency and quality of working of the judiciary.
Saroj Pathak K.,
K.K. Venugopal's suggestion on regional courts of appeals is sound and needs to be acted upon. Everyone had been lamenting the inordinate delay in the disposal of cases by the Supreme Court but no one came up with a practical suggestion. On its part, the government had been merely increasing the number of judges. If implemented, this suggestion will cut the Gordian knot.
The suggestions, if implemented, will minimise docket explosion, and hence, merit serious consideration. Hand in hand, drastic procedural reforms should be thought of. Subsequent to the filing of petitions, counter-affidavits, rejoinders, etc, much judicial time is wasted on elaboration and exposition of the positions canvassed by the contenders. Given the volume of comprehensive written versions filed before the court, there is little need for oral and explanatory arguments. Dispensing with protracted arguments, or at least their curtailment, would reduce cost to the litigants, obviate the need for frequent adjournments and place at the disposal of the judges more time for their adjudicatory paper work. The loss to counsel who bills his clients for each appearance can be offset to some extent by charging a little more for the preparatory work.