NEW DELHI: The Central government has vehemently opposed the idea of setting up a National Court of Appeal (NCOA), which is favoured by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, raising a question mark over the fate of the proposed court of appeal.
The Centre is likely to inform the apex court on April 25 that establishing NCOA is a matter of policy and if implemented, would result in more pendency of cases.
“In view of enormous backlog of cases pending in the higher courts, the creation of an additional tier of a higher appellate court would only prolong the lifecycle of a case thereby defeating the right to speedy, efficient and affordable justice under Article 21 of the Constitution,” a law ministry official said.
The Centre is also likely to tell court that the establishment of NCOA would require a Constitutional amendment and will dilute Article 136 of the Constitution, weaken the power of the apex court and delay finality of judgments.
According to a PIL filed in the court, the court of appeal should be set up in cities like Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai to hear appeals from high courts directly. Amicus curiae and senior advocate K K Venugopal informed the court that he has finalized 11 propositions.
According to a law ministry official, the government will also pitch for strengthening the high courts so that very few cases reach the apex court. The apex court was hearing a PIL filed by Puducherry-based advocate V Vasantha Kumar demanding a National Court of Appeal and had submitted that the apex court, situated in the national capital, is far away from other parts of the country.
“High travel expense and cost of litigation are coming in way of citizens from far flung areas to approach the top court of the land, which is otherwise also burdened with large-scale pendency of cases,” he argued.
Kumar moved the apex court after the Centre did not consider his representation for setting up NCOA which was suggested by the apex court in a 1986 judgment.