Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde Wednesday took note of overcrowding in the courtroom ahead of hearing on over 140 pleas against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and said there was a need to devise a mechanism to tackle the menace. A bench, comprising CJI and justices SA Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna, was sitting in the large CJI’s jam-packed courtroom and got miffed when it could not hear the submissions of senior advocate Kapil Sibal who wanted to mention a case for urgent hearing.
“The overcrowding has become a severe problem and it leads to instances where people are pushed,” the bench said. Attorney General KK Venugopal, representing the Centre in the CAA matter, rose and said, “This is the problem we are facing not only in the courtrooms and in corridors as well”.
The CJI, before starting hearing of the listed matters, said that he would convene a meeting of senior lawyers sitting in the front row in near future to find a solution to tackle the problem of overcrowded and noisy courtrooms.
Senior lawyers including Indira Jaising and Rajeev Dhavan gave certain suggestions for maintaining decorum in courtrooms and to ensure that nobody is pushed. Sibal said the SCBA can be roped in to ensure that lawyers are urged to follow rules and discipline.
The CJI said he is mulling introducing a practice for lawyers who stand in the queue to mention cases and a lectern may be placed in the front for the arguing counsel to make submissions.
Venugopal referred to the example of the Pakistan Supreme Court where a separate enclosure is set up where a lawyer can stand argue the case. “There should be calm and silence in the first court of India,” Venugopal said.
“I know these are lawyers, but the security guards will have to ensure order and push some body for it…There is little resistance from the lawyers,” the CJI said, adding “I am going to convene a meeting of all of you and you can suggest means to deal with it.”