AG Ro­hatgi Coun­sels Self-re­straint to Supreme Court

CJI won­ders if same logic (im­pos­ing costs on cor­po­rate houses in­dulging in end­less lit­i­ga­tion) would ap­ply to cases filed by state ma­chin­ery

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -


New Delhi: Days af­ter Chief Jus­tice TSThakur­madeanemo­tion­alap­peal for more judges to deal with the 3 crore­odd cases threat­en­ing to over­whelm the ju­di­ciary, the Modi gov­ern­ment on Thurs­day coun­selled the Supreme Court to ex­er­cise self-re­straint, not in­ter­fere with ev­ery high court rul­ing, im­pose costs on cor­po­rates in­dulging in pro­tracted lit­i­ga­tion and fo­cus only on fed­eral con­sti­tu­tional is­sues to ar­rest such pile-ups.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mukul Ro­hatgi did not re­fer at all to the CJI’s de­mand to the PM at a public func­tion at Vi­gyan Bha­van for more judges to deal with the crises which has clogged the jus­tice-de­liv­ery mech­a­nism in his sub­mis­sions to the court on hav­ing a na­tional court of ap­peal to separately deal with appeals against high court rul­ings, leav­ing the top court to pick and de­cide a hand­ful of con­sti­tu­tional is­sues like the US Supreme Court.

“A na­tional court of ap­peal is nei­ther fea­si­ble, nor de­sir­able,” the AG said. “The right to move the Supreme Court is a ba­sic con­sti­tu­tional right. If you cur­tail that right in 80% of the cases, you will emas­cu­late the Con­sti­tu­tion and deny ac­cess to jus­tice,” he said. In­stead, he sug­gested a self-cor­rect­ing mech­a­nism for the court to get on top of the prob­lem of mount­ing ar­rears. “There will al­ways be some in­jus­tice, some wrong or­der. The de­sire to cor­rect all such er­rors in high court rul­ings must stop. This is self-de­feat­ing,” he told a bench, com­pris­ing CJI Thakur, and jus­tices R Banu­mathi and UU Lalit. He sug­gested the court be­gin by im­pos­ing ex­em­plary costs on cor­po­rate houses which in­dulge in end­less lit­i­ga­tion. “If they are kite-fly­ing, the court must im­pose huge costs,” he told the court. In our sys­tem, lit­i­gat­ing par­ties only have to pay lawyers’ fees. The AG wants the los­ing party to be im­posed heavy costs for wast­ing pre­cious time and re­sources of the court.

The CJI won­dered whether the same logic would ap­ply to cases filed by the state ma­chin­ery. “Isn’t this a very se­ri­ous is­sue? Is the gov­ern­ment of In­dia giv­ing any se­ri­ous thought to this?” he asked. The AG then sug­gested that the court was not the proper fo­rum for such a de­bate and in­stead asked the CJI to lob the is­sue back to the Law Com­mis­sion.

TheCJI­won­dered­how­it­would­help whent­woear­lierLawCom­mis­sion had sug­gested a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in judge strength by at least 6-7 times to tackle the sud­den ex­plo­sion of lit­i­ga­tion. In­stead, the CJI said he may re­fer the is­sue to a larger bench of the court.

Cour­tam­i­cusKKVenu­gopa­land­se­nior ad­vo­cate TR And­yaru­jina made an im­pas­sioned ap­peal for a na­tional court of ap­peal with benches in all cor­ners of the coun­try. That would leave the top court free to deal only with important “fed­eral con­sti­tu­tional is­sues” or is­sues of life and death.

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