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Report No. 99

4.6. Admission stage and oral arguments-recommendation.-

At the same time, it appears to us that at the stage of admission, a different approach can be adopted without much difficulty. The principal task of a court at the stage of admission is to decide whether there is, in the material placed before it, a prima facie case that seems to justify invocation of the jurisdiction of the court. For coming to a decision on that issue, written arguments, presented properly in the form of a statement of case/appeal on the lines envisaged in this Report, should, in the vast majority of cases, be sufficient. It would be for the Judges who are called upon to rule on the question of admission of the matter to decide whether they should call upon the party concerned to present oral arguments, or whether the question of admitting the case or appeal could be decided on the basis of written arguments alone.

No doubt, by deciding against admitting the case or appeal, the Judges (where the matter is raised before the Supreme Court), would be practically putting an end to the life of the litigation, once and for all. (The very exceptional remedy of review of judgment may be disregarded, for the present purpose). But it seems to us that if a serious effort is to be made, to bring the arrears in the Supreme Court under control, some such change is almost inescapable. No doubt, dismissal of the petition or appeal at the admission stage without oral arguments may cause dissatisfaction to the litigant and to the members of the bar in many cases.

This probable consequence notwithstanding, we recommend that at the stage of admission of a case or appeal in the Supreme Court, including those in which constitutional matters are raised, the Court may dispense with oral hearing unless it consider such a hearing to be necessary in special cases in the interests of justice. Such a change will, no doubt, require, for its proper implementation, the constitution of suitable machinery such as an Admissions Committee or Committees, to decide whether the matter should be admitted or rejected with or without oral arguments.

Oral and Written Arguments in the Higher Courts Back

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