The proposal for establishment of NCA has been discussed over quite period of time. You need to study what are all aspects of the issue.
The Centre and the Supreme Court have been deliberating on establishment of Courts of Appeal from quite some time.
What is a 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, the Supreme Court of India situated in Delhi would only hear matters of constitutional law and public law.
Why is there a need for NCA?
Burdening of SC by regular cases:
- Due to SC being burdened by regular matters like bail pleas, dishonoured cheques, traffic violations, etc. reduce court’s efficiency, it is not able to perform its real mandate of a Constitutional Court.
Give SC time to perform its mandate functions:
- The setting up of a NCA would take up the Supreme Court’s appeals jurisdiction and will give Supreme Court its much wanted time to perform its mandated functions efficiently.
Increasing geographical proximity:
- Since the Supreme Court is situated only in New Delhi, it hampers the accessibility to litigants from south India. So, there is an urgent need to establish courts like NCA with regional benches.
Reduce burden on higher judiciary:
- NCA would help in reducing the burden by disposing the mundane cases; and it may also help in clubbing those cases which needs clarification from the Supreme Court.
Listen to appeals from high courts:
- If a court of appeal is established, the majority of appeals from high courts can be addressed in these courts.
- 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.
Relieve the Supreme Court of regular civil and criminal appeals:
It would relieve the Supreme Court of the weight of hearing regular civil and criminal appeals, allowing the court to concentrate on determining only fundamental questions of constitutional importance.
Criticism of the idea
May curtail the powers of the Supreme Court:
- It is feared that attempts like this are made by the other organs of the state to curtail the constitutional powers of the Supreme Court.
Require constitutional amendment:
- It is held that the establishment of NCA would require an amendment in Article 130 of the Constitution which in turn would change the constitution of the Supreme Court completely.
May cost heavily on exchequer:
- The establishment of NCA would increase the burden on the exchequer and similarly the expenses and hardships of the litigants will also increase.
- Dilution of the Supreme Court and its aura as an apex court may not be in line with the concept of the Supreme Court envisioned by the architects of the Constitution.
What is the Supreme Court’s position on creating an NCA?
- The Supreme Court itself, as early as in 1986, had recommended establishment of an NCA with regional Benches at Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata to ease the burden of the Supreme Court and avoid hardship to litigants who have to come all the way to Delhi to fight their cases.
- But subsequent Chief Justices of India were not inclined to the idea of bifurcation of judicial powers, and that of forming regional benches of the apex court.
- In February 2016, the Supreme Court admitted Chennai lawyer V. Vasanthakumar’s petition for setting up an NCA.
What is the government’s position on the NCA?
- The government has rejected the proposal for a National Court of Appeal with regional Benches. It has cited three grounds for rejecting the idea —
- As per the constitution the Supreme Court always sits in Delhi,
- The idea of NCA was consistently opposed by the Chief Justices of India in the past,
- An NCA would “completely change the constitution of the Supreme Court” and establishing NCA in between the High Court and the SC would be a dilution of the judiciary.
- The issues concerning the Indian Judiciary as a whole are deep rooted for the NCA to offer a solution. The focus should be made to strengthen the base of judicial edifice instead of trying to alter the core structure of the judiciary.
- The need of the hour is a more robust subordinate judiciary in the place of the feeble infrastructure to support the justice delivery system. A strong political will is needed to effect changes to ensure smooth and effective functioning of the Supreme Court rather than just making infrastructural changes.
Q.1) What is a National Court of Appeal? What are the pros and cons of having a NCA?
Q.2) Do you think idea of having a National Court of Appeal will solve the problems of Indian judiciary? What is the government’s and SC view on NCA?