Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, 29 January 2010
NEW DELHI: Attorney General G E Vahanvati has strongly opposed Law Commission’s radical recommendation for setting up of a Constitutional Courtin Delhi and four Supreme Courts in the metros primarily to ease present litigational pressure on the SC.
The legislative department of the law ministry had sought the top law officer’s opinion after Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan endorsed the Commission’s five-month-old recommendation. Holding the present character of the Supreme Court as an intrinsic reflection of the core values of the federal structure of the country, Vahanvati has faulted the Commission’s proposal on grounds of practicality and said that it strikes at the roots of the Constitution.
He said the Supreme Court in the national capital with judges drawn from all corners of the country representing various communities and sections of the society is a great symbol of unity, and that any dilution of its authority could create an anomalous situation. “The Attorney General is against any dilution of the stature of the Supreme Court in its present form,” said legislative secretary Bhupinder Prasad.
The AG termed the Commission’s recommendation as completely unworkable and was even critical of the legislative mode suggested by it for the creation of a Constitutional Court. He said nothing less than an amendment to the Constitution could help in creating a Constitutional Court as the concept was totally new relating to the judiciary, one of the three branches of governance. Article 130 of the Constitution provides that “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.” The AG in his opinion has virtually supported the consistent stand of the full court of the apex court not to have its Bench anywhere in India.
In its 229th report submitted to law minister Veerappa Moily, the Commission had said: “Whether the Supreme Court should be split into Constitutional Division and Legal Division for appeals, the latter with Benches in four regions — North, South, East and West — is a subject for fundamental importance for the judicial system of the country.” It had recommended that “a Constitution Bench be set up at Delhi to deal with constitutional and other allied issues and four Cassation (final appeal court) Benches be set up in the Northern region at Delhi, the Southern region at Chennai/Hyderabad, the Eastern region at Kolkata and Western region at Mumbai to deal with all appellate work arising out of orders/judgments of the high courts of the particular region.”