Inflow of cases heavy, CJIs before had not set up constitution benches: SC

Supreme Court of India [Representational Image]
Supreme Court of India [Representational Image] File: ANI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the inflow of cases is so heavy that it is impossible to list constitution bench matters unless the time taken to make submissions is rationed, while hearing a batch of petitions seeking recognition of same-sex marriages.

A five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, pointed out that to conduct constitution bench hearings, five judges would have to leave their regular work. "That is why Chief Justices before me have not constituted constitution benches because you don't know the kind of pressure. Every evening I ask what is the filing and how much is the disposal," said the Chief Justice, adding that is the real problem in the apex court.

He said the inflow is so heavy, unless "we start rationing time, you know, it is impossible to list constitution benches". The five-judge bench also comprises Justices S K Kaul, S R Bhat, Hima Kohli, and P S Narasimha.

The Chief Justice made this observation after a counsel handed over a list of lawyers who would argue on behalf of the petitioners along with an indicative time for completion of their arguments.

The bench said there are apex courts where the entire arguments could be over in 30 minutes but it has given three days to the petitioners' counsel to argue their case.

Senior advocate Anand Grover, representing some petitioners, asked: "Why should one person get more time than the others?" The bench said in the next week, it will sit from Monday to Thursday, so that arguments from both the sides could be over.

As Grover cited diversity of views in the matter, the bench said: "Then, you can merrily go on in July. We have no problem." Counsel said the petitioners' side would conclude their submissions on Monday.

The bench noted that the estimated time given by the petitioners' side is about 16 hours which means four complete days for one side.

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