Attorney General K K Venugopal on August 15, 2019, expressed concern over the long-pending criminal and civil appeals in courts and suggested there should be an intermediate court of appeal between the Supreme court and high courts in each of the four regions of the country. Venugopal said that the government and the judges have failed in ensuring expeditious delivery of justice.
The Attorney General expressed this statement at the Independence Day celebrations in the apex court lawn where Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi unfurled the national flag in the presence of dignitaries. Venugopal said that there should be distinct judges constituting the court of appeal and the Collegium system of the apex court should be the basis of their appointments too. He quoted:
When I was looking at the cause list of the Supreme Court yesterday, 30 civil appeals were there which were pending from 2007, which is about 12 years. Just imagine such cases are also pending in high court and district courts, maybe for 9 or 10 years. We require a bold person today to address the court system in our country.
There should be intermediate courts of appeal between the Supreme Court and high courts of the country… In each of the four regions (east, west, north and south) of this country, there should be distinct judges constituting the court of appeal. Let the judges be elevated from the high court and the same process by which collegium of the Supreme Court appoints judges be the basis.
Venugopal said that the court of appeal cannot be allowed to run like the appellate court. He said,
We cannot possibly allow it to be an ordinary routine court of appeal like any other appellate courts.
Explaining how the new system could work, if established, Venugopal said that the advocates practising in the apex court will also practice in such courts of appeal.
With this suggestion, as far as litigants were concerned, the court of appeal should be closer to them. He said,
No further appeal will lie other than the review at the same court. The judges at the Supreme Court will not have to burn the midnight oil in dealing with these cases….. This will lessen the burden of the lawyers and the judges. It will be a new beginning. The Supreme Court will have pendency of only two years and pendency of cases in the court of appeal will also be of only for two years.
The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial court and the final court of appeal under the Constitution of India. There are 58,029 cases pending in the Supreme Court of India as of February 1, 2019.
Over 4 million cases pending in High Courts of India, while the lower courts more burdened with 2 crores cases.
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