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KK Venugopal moots courts of appeal to turn SC into constitutional court

NEW DELHI, Nov 28: Attorney General of India KK Venugopal has said that there is need for the creation of Courts of Appeal in at least four regions - North, South, West and East.

Delivering his address on the Constitution Day celebrations at Vigyan Bhavan on Friday, Venugopal said, "I would envisage at least four regions, North, South, West and East, each having a Court of Appeal with 15 judges."

He said, "We're adding 60 judges who would be taking over the cases so that the pendency would be cut down to a very great extent. It would be reduced so that you'll be able to get the cases disposed of within a period of 3 or 4 years. This would mean that the Supreme Court would not require 34 judges which it has now. Once it is relieved of all this burden of rent control, matrimonial and so on and so on the result of it is that 15 judges sitting in 3 Constitution benches of 5 each would be sufficient to dispose of cases of Constitutional nature or where death sentence is involved or constitutional requirement of references or so on."

He said that over the last 75 years a big question that had been posed was whether the Supreme Court was a Constitutional Court.

Venugopal said, "Now this means that so far as the Supreme Court is concerned, it can't truly claim to be a constitutional court. You have to remember that so far as we Western apex courts are concerned, they have managed their work in a manner where they are able to dispose of their cases within a period of two years. But what is the real situation so far as India is concerned. We find that in Supreme Court list there are criminal cases pending from 2008, civil cases pending from 2009 and if it's pending in SC for 12 years then one should consider to account that the cases have come from trial courts and High Courts where they have been pending for 10 years and about 8/10 years in Supreme Court as well."

The AG said Courts of Appeal are needed to absorb all the cases like matrimonial, rent control etc which had nothing to do with the Constitution or its interpretation..

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