[dropcap]V[/dropcap]ICE President of India and Chairman of Rajya Sabha M. Venkaiah Naidu has suggested several judicial reforms including bifurcation of the Supreme Court and setting up of four regional benches of the Apex Court besides evolving Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that limit the number of adjournments and the time-frame for disposal of cases by the courts.
Naidu went on to say that bifurcation of apex court did not require any amendment to the Constitution, recalling Article 130 of the Constitution which says: “The Supreme Court shall sit in Delhi or in such other place or places, as the Chief Justice of India may, with the approval of the President, from time to time appoint.”
He also referred to a recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice on having regional benches of the Supreme Court on trial basis.
Naidu was speaking on the present state of judicial system in the country and the pressing need for reforms in the presence of Supreme Court Judge Justice Rohinton F. Nariman, Attorney General for India K.K. Venugopal, several former judges including Justice A.R. Dave and senior advocates like Salman Khurshid, Rajiv Dhawan, MahalakshmiPavani after releasing of book ‘Parameswara to PP’, a compilation of articles of former senior advocate of the Supreme Court late P.P. Rao.
Vice President Naidu echoed the recommendation of the Law Commission to split the Supreme Court into Constitutional Division and Courts of Appeal for steady disposal of cases. He further suggested the need to set up four Regional Benches of the apex court and went to the extent of saying that this arrangement does not require any amendment to the Constitution.
He also referred to a recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice on having Regional Benches of the Supreme Court on trial basis.
On the issue of delay in justice delivering system, Naidu urged that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) may be evolved by the judiciary by which the number of permissible adjournments can be specified and a time limit can be set for disposal of cases based on the nature of issues involved. He also urged the Government to be much more proactive in addressing the large number of pending vacancies in the judicial system so that delays are avoided.
“The judiciary and the Government to act in tandem in this regard”, Naidu added.
“The speed and quality of justice delivery in the country has a huge bearing on the economic development as it impacts the flow of investment. It would be better if judges at various levels are exposed to special orientation programmesorganised by the judiciary itself on various technical and specialised branches of emerging laws and the attendant issues and processes”, said the Vice President Naidu.
In addition, he called for induction of capable judges and quality lawyers besides improving the quality of legal education to enable delivery of justice in time.
He also spoke on the need to revisit the Anti-Defection Laws contained in the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution to prevent loopholes and set time limits for the Presiding Officers of various legislatures to decide on defection matters in quick time.
He recalled several instances of delay in deciding on defection matters as a result of which those subsequently disqualified have completed their terms in legislatures. He also suggested special judicial tribunals for disposing defection cases within six months to one year.
The Vice President also underscored the need for election cases and cases of criminal proceedings against politicians to be decided by special benches of higher courts for their disposal within six months.
(With inputs from Press Information Bureau)