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National Court of Appeal:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Separation of powers.

 

Context:

The Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana has urged the Government to seriously consider Attorney General K.K.Venugopal’s suggestion to restructure the judiciary to include four National Courts of Appeals.

  • He remarked that the judicial structure has remained stagnant since Independence and with four appellate courts, pendency will be remarkably reduced.

 

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.

 

Why NCA is a good idea?

  1. A National Court of Appeals makes sense, with the Supreme Court being burdened with cases of all kinds.
  2. It will make geographical sense to have different benches to hear appeals. As of now, all appeals have to be heard in New Delhi, inconvenient for cases originating in other parts of the country.
  3. A court of appeal can work as an excellent mechanism to sieve cases. If there are areas of law that are particularly unsettled and need clarification, the court of appeal can club them together and send these forward to the Supreme Court. Not only can a number of individual cases be disposed of but areas of law can also be settled and a clear precedent set.
  4. If the Supreme Court only deals with crucial cases, the process will become streamlined and will save a lot of time and expense, for both litigants and the courts.

 

Why is it a bad idea- arguments against?

  1. It will not reduce the litigation. Apex courts are not clogged but subordinate courts are.
  2. It will merely add another layer of adjudication.
  3. It is constitutionally impossible because hearing of appeals is a basic structure (which will be affected).
  4. It would be a boon only for advocates.
  5. This suggestion would require an amendment in Article 130 of the Constitution which is impermissible as this would change the constitution of the Supreme Court completely
  6. Stand of the Government.
  7. NCA will add one more level of adjudication and will not help decrease litigation. It will only end up being a boon to advocates. It will mean more hardship to the litigant.

 

What else can be done?

  • Efforts should be to strengthen subordinate judiciary (high courts) so that proper justice can be dispensed with.
  • The Supreme Court should discourage the usage of the High Court as a mere stepping-stone towards the end of judicial hierarchy.

Sources: the Hindu.