HC judge bats for SC benches outside Delhi
Observing that the Supreme Court is the custodian of rights of not only the litigants but also the entire population of the country, the Madras High Court has called for establishing benches of the apex court at other places apart from Delhi.
However, Justice N Kirubakaran (since retired) made the observation while passing orders on a plea moved by a person alleging misconduct by an advocate, which was dismissed by the disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu, another judge, Justice R Pongiappan, distanced himself from the order saying certain views and observations given in the judgment were not related to the prayer sought for in the write petition.
However, Justice Kirubakaran while negating the petitioner’s plea of being unable to visit Delhi to file his appeal at the Bar Council of India, said, “Location of courts and tribunals in New Delhi alone, without having regional benches, causes injustice to the people living in far flung places. This injustice continues right from the year 1950 onwards.”Also noting that 34 Supreme Court judges were not enough for a country that has a population of 136 crores, the bench in its order said, “This court hopes and expects that justice would be rendered by all the stakeholders by taking a pragmatic, appropriate, justifiable and a fair decision in the interest of the people.”Recording the Union government’s submission that the administrative side of the Supreme Court was not keen on setting up benches in other states, Justice Kirubakaran said, “The Madurai Bench was made possible because of the decision taken by the Supreme Court. When the Supreme Court is inclined to grant permission to establish benches of the High Courts, every citizen expects the same decision to establish benches of the Supreme Court in the south, north, east and west.”The Parliamentary Standing Committees have been consistently recommending setting up Supreme Court benches, and the Law Commission suggested the constitution of benches in various regions in its 229th report. However, the then Chief Justice of India informed that full court meeting held on February 8, 2010, took a decision that there was no justification for benches outside Delhi, the court recorded in its order, while noting that it was not the intention of the court to cast aspersion on anybody and added that it should not be misunderstood that the court exceeded the limits in passing the order.