press trust of india
New Delhi, 7 July
There will be at least one Constitution Bench for “authoritative pronouncements” on matters like mercy pleas to avoid conflicting views by smaller benches, says Chief Justice of India designate Mr Justice P Sathasivam.
The 64-year-old judge, who will take over as the 40th CJI in a fortnight’s time, feels that a permanent Constitution Bench, consisting of five judges will solve thousands of cases stuck in litigation, even at the apex court, because of conflicting views from smaller benches.
The new CJI designate also has strong views on the legislative proposal for a bar on judges making casual observations against legislature and executive during hearings, the need for virtual reservation in higher judiciary in appointment of judges and dismisses the idea of setting up circuit benches of the apex court in other parts of the country.
He also wants judges to be cautious while making observations in the courts. It should be limited to eliciting information from parties.
“First, I am thinking of constituting one Constitution Bench consisting of five judges for at least one month, which means the total working days the bench will hear matters.”
“For cases regarding delay in disposal of mercy pleas, in order to avoid conflicting views by separate two or three judge Benches, I am thinking of listing those cases before a Constitution Bench of five judges for authoritative pronouncements,” he told PTI in an interview.
Mr Justice Sathasivam said this would obviate a situation of a two or three judge Bench taking a different view.
“These types of cases I am going to identify,” Mr Justice Sathasivam, who is scheduled to be sworn in on 19 July, said.
Likewise, he said there are thousands of cases relating to entry tax pending all over India and imposition of such a tax on vehicles by each state makes it a difficult proposition.
“If a lorry goes from one state to another, every state imposes tax. How will that man survive? So, there are such matters that are pending in the Supreme Court as well. If we bring these cases for argument and decisions,  many a thousand cases will be solved,” he said.
Further, distance is not a factor now in view of technological developments, he added.
“For setting up of regional benches, seven times the matter was discussed. From 1950 till this date, on seven occasions the matter was discussed in the full court of the Supreme Court and on two occasions at the annual Chief Justices’ conference.”