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Report No. 58

Idea of Zonal Court

9.4. The idea of Zonal Court was suggested for our consideration by some eminent persons who occupied a very high position in the judicial life of this country. In support of this idea, it can be urged that the establishment of an intermediate Court of Appeal like a Zonal Court may help to reduce the load on the docket of the Supreme Court. The idea of the Zonal Court postulates that our country should be divided into four Zones and each Zone should have a Zonal Court. Zonal Courts, according to this concept, are really intended to function as Courts of Appeal at the stage of the High Courts.

This idea postulates that in each High Court, all the Judges should function in single Divisions, and appeals against their judgments should lie to the Zonal Courts. Zonal Courts should be composed of Judges, selected from each of the High Courts in the States constituting the Zone on some rationale principle as that of seniority. The Chief Justice of each High Court and one or two of his senior colleagues should become members of Zonal Courts. The Zonal Courts thus contemplated would function like Circuit Courts.

They should hold their sittings in each High Court and hear appeals against the judgments delivered by single Judges of that High Court. Since Zonal Courts would thus be constituted by senior judges of the High Court and may sit in a Bench of three judges, it was suggested that Article 136 of the Constitution could be suitably amended and appeals against the decisions of such Zonal Courts should be allowed only on substantial question of law of general importance. If the idea of the establishment of Zonal Court is accepted, some consequential amendments may have to be made even in Articles 133 and 134.

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