Legal Correspondent

Parliamentary panel "disgruntled" with persistent court opposition

  • Benches mooted in Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai
  • Proposal will help the poor who can't go to Delhi

    New Delhi: Unhappy with persistent opposition from the Supreme Court to establishing its Benches in Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, the Parliamentary Committee on Law and Justice has urged the Centre to amend the Constitution to break the deadlock.

    In its 20th report submitted to Parliament on Thursday, the committee said it was recommending time and again the setting up of Benches in far-flung areas to provide justice to the poor, for whom it was impossible to visit the national capital.

    But the Supreme Court found no justification for setting up such Benches.

    The committee, headed by E.V. Sudarsana Natchiappan, in its second and sixth report, felt that establishment of the Benches in the southern, western and northeastern parts would facilitate litigants to avail themselves of justice without having to travel to Delhi.

    Earlier panels recommended that the Government decide its course of action to resolve the matter expeditiously.

    Centre's reply

    In its reply, the Centre told the present committee that it had been pleading with the Supreme Court for approval of the proposal to set up regional Benches, as it was mandatory under Article 130. (It says the Supreme Court sits in Delhi. It can, however, meet in any other place as the Chief Justice may decide with the approval of the President.)

    The Centre said the Full Court considered the matter and the judges were of the considered opinion that the demand could not be accepted. It rejected the demand in 1999 and reiterated the stand in 2001, 2004 and 2006.

    The Government did not propose to bring in any constitutional amendment to address this problem.

    The committee said it felt "disgruntled" at the persistent opposition by the Supreme Court to establishing Benches without giving any convincing reason or justification.

    Trial basis

    It reiterated its view that establishment of Benches at least in Chennai on a trial basis and then in other parts would be of immense help to the poor.