New Delhi: Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Friday called for setting up of Supreme Court benches in various parts of the country, so that people do not have to travel to Delhi only to fight their cases.
There is a need to expand the Supreme Court benches and have separate benches at different regions on a trial basis as suggested by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, Naidu said at the launch of former CAG Vinod Rai's second book 'Rethinking Good Governance'.
He added that this will reduce the inconvenience faced by litigants who have to travel long distances to access justice.
"The Supreme Court must also think about different benches say in south, east and west regions so that people don't have to come all the way to Delhi. The Constitution itself provides for the expansion of benches of SC and no separate legislation is required for that," Naidu said.
The Vice President also advocated that the judicial system in India needs to be brought closer to the people as there are lakhs and crores of cases pending across various courts in the country.
Providing statistics towards the same, he said as many as 60,000 cases are pending in the Supreme Court, as many as 40 lakh cases are before various high courts while the rest of the lower courts have in total 3 crore cases pending.
Further, he said election petitions, criminal cases against political leaders and defection cases must be decided quickly by special benches of higher courts in a time-bound manner.
"If need be, separate benches may be set up to expedite such cases within six months or one year. We need to bring judicial system closer to people. There is a need to improve court management and infrastructure facilities, especially in lower courts. The endless possibilities of information technology may be leveraged to facilitate e-filing and online case management," Naidu added.
He said the judicial processes must also become more people-friendly, adding that there is truth in the dictum that 'justice delayed is justice denied'.
The most urgent judicial reform necessary is the elimination of judicial delays and improvement of the efficiency of justice system, Naidu said.
Speaking about Rai book, he said, "We must ensure that the fruits of democratic set-up reach everyone, especially the ones who are at the farthest end of the development spectrum."
One way to make the delivery of services more efficient is through the use of digital technologies.
Rai said it is a good thing that the citizens of India have become more discerning and are holding institutions responsible.
"Millennials ask the most awkward of the questions, which is a development in our democracy. Any person sitting in a chair of power knows that he/she is sitting in a glass house -- all their actions are being observed.
"The purpose of this book is to bring out in society the management of the public institution," Rai said.
A few years ago, the Law Commission had made a similar recommendation. The full bench of the Supreme Court has on multiple occasions maintained that there is no need for its benches outside Delhi.
The full court of the Supreme Court has already rejected the Commission's August 2009 suggestion that the apex court be split into a Constitution Bench in Delhi and Cassation Benches in Delhi (north), Chennai/Hyderabad (south), Kolkata (east) and Mumbai (west) to deal with all appellate work arising out of the orders/judgments of the High Courts.