National Court of Appeal
- The Supreme Court’s request to the Central government to consider the possibility of establishing a National Court of Appeal has elicited mixed reactions from the legal community.
- It was suggested by Attorney General K.K.Venugopal’s suggestion to restructure the judiciary to include four National Courts of Appeals.
- The Supreme Court of India, the country’s highest judicial institution, has lost its original character by a vast self-enlargement of its jurisdiction that has virtually turned it into a general court of app.
About the National Court of Appeal:
- The National Court Appeal with regional benches in Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata is meant to act as final court of justice in dealing with appeals from the decisions of the High Courts and tribunals within their region in civil, criminal, labour and revenue matters.
- In such a scenario, a much-relieved Supreme Court of India situated in Delhi would only hear matters of constitutional law and public law.
- It will deal in civil, criminal, labor and revenue matters.
- This will reduce the workload of the overburdened Supreme Court of India situated in Delhi which would then only hear matters of constitutional law and public law.
- Increase Accessibility: It will address the issues of difficulty to access the apex court for people living in remote and backward corners of the country, the high costs of engaging seniors.
- Different benches to hear appeals will make sense from a geographical standpoint.
- Supreme Court as final Arbiter: The proposed court is meant to act as the final arbiter of appeals against decisions of the High Courts and tribunals in civil, criminal, labor and revenue cases.
- Increase Efficiency: It will be an excellent mechanism to sieve cases as those areas of law that are particularly unsettled and need clarification, the court of appeal can club them together and send these to the Supreme Court. Not only can several individual cases be disposed of but areas of law can also be settled and a clear precedent set.
- Suggestion by the Law Commission: In its 229th Report (2009) that if necessary Article 130 (“The Supreme Court shall sit in Delhi or such other place or places, as the Chief Justice of India may, with the approval of the President, from time to time, appoint”) may be amended
- No Reduction in Number of Cases: It will not lessen the amount of litigation. The apex courts are not overburdened, but the lower courts are. It will only add another layer of decision-making.
- Increased Financial Burden: The establishment of the NCA will raise the burden on the government's budget, as well as the costs and hardships faced by litigants.
- Aligning with the Vision of Constitutional Drafters: The Supreme Court's aura as an apex court may be diluted, which may not be consistent with the concept of the Supreme Court envisioned by the Constitution's architects.
- Unconstitutional: It is unconstitutional because the hearing of appeals is a fundamental structure (which would be altered). It would be a gift exclusively to lawyers.
- This proposition would necessitate a change to Article 130 of the Constitution, which is unconstitutional because it would fundamentally alter the Supreme Court's constitution.
- Opposition By Judiciary: Successive Chief Justices of India have been against the establishment of Benches outside Delhi.