July,13,2015: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition for setting up of a separate bench at Chennai for easy accessibility of justice for citizens of the southern states but said it was a progressive thought.
“We appreciate the progressive thinking of yours,” a bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu said, while declining the plea that the CJI was empowered under the Constitution to create a circuit bench.
The petition, filed by advocate A M Krishna, has sought the court’s direction to the Centre “to initiate immediate steps in setting up a Supreme Court bench at Chennai”.
The bench, which also comprised Justices Arun Kumar Mishra and Amitava Roy, said it was not inclined to go into the matter in its judicial side for setting up of benches.
Senior advocate M N Krishnamani, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that reports of the Law Commission and Parliamentary standing committees have favoured setting of circuit benches.
The petition also said that approaching Supreme Court was very expensive for litigants coming from distant places like Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Assam and other far-flung states.
“In view of the alarming escalation of transport fare, lodging expenses and in view of the geographical location of the seat of the apex court, it is hoped that the Supreme court will suggest ways and means for maintaining structural and financial integrity of the of the apex court even while setting up the southern, western and north-eastern benches,” it said.
“The access to justice has been recognised as one of the most important human rights, which is included in Article 39 (A) of the Constitution as a Directive Principle of the State Policy… today the Supreme Court is faced with the problem of work load.
“In a truly democratic country like ours, to solve the problems of arrears of cases pending in courts, the solution is not to deny justice to the people but to expand the judicial system in various ways so as to keep pace with the growth of litigation,” the petition said.