Referred to Larger Bench X: Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy

My Lord, Why is Supreme Court not a Constitutional Court?

Relying upon Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, Mr. Venugopal established, Supreme Court had strayed from its original character as a Constitutional Court and gradually converted itself into a mere Court of Appeal to correct every error it found in decisions of 24 High Courts and numerous Tribunals subordinate to it. It is not in dispute, Supreme Court was never meant to be a Regular Court of Appeal. It was meant to exercise its powers under Article 136 only in cases which raised important questions involving interpretation of the Constitution or questions of general public importance or questions of constitutionality of State or Central legislations or those raising important issues touching Centre-State relationship et cetera. The jurisdiction may also have been available to Court where it found gross miscarriage of justice or an error so outrageous as no reasonable person would countenance. The power to interfere was not meant to be exercisable just because prolonged argument would eventually reveal some error or irregularity or a possible alternative view on a subject that did not cause any miscarriage of justice of a kind that would shock the conscience of Court on the subject.

The fact remains, filing of cases in Supreme Court, over past six-decades, has grown so sharply that Judge-Strength in Supreme Court is proving inadequate. Dismissal of an overwhelming number of cases has not and does not discourage litigants from filing cases. The number of cases filed is on the rise every year. Pronouncement of this Court sounding notes of caution against liberal grant of Special Leave to Appeal or exercise of restraint in the matter of entertaining cases have lead to no meaningful improvement.

What then is the way forward?

Keeping in view the importance of the above question and the need for reforms which have been long felt, we deem it proper to refer the same to a Constitutional Bench.

Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Justice T.S. Thakur, V. Vasanthakumar v. H.C. Bhatia, [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 36 of 2016].