In yet another major step to save the time of the Supreme Court, lawyers and the litigants and streamline the justice delivery system, Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia Friday bifurcated the functioning of the forest bench that deals with the environment and related matters.
Presiding over the forest bench, Chief Justice Kapadia said that the bench headed by the chief justice would hear the matters where norms had to be laid down. This bench, which would also hear the matter involving big projects, will meet every Friday.
The second bench that would meet on every Monday is tasked with the monitoring of the implementation of the court’s directions in other forest related matters.
This bench will deal with the matters relating saw mills, plywood, veneer, grant and renewal of license, construction/widening of roads and highways, cutting, illegal falling of trees, their collection and transportation, smuggling of sandalwood and Kendu leaves, tiger reserves, bird sanctuaries, wildlife and other animal related matters.
Chief Justice Kapadia said that there would be a priority list on basis of which matter would be heard.
At the outset of every hearing of the principal forest bench Friday, the court would indicate which matters would be taken up and other matters on the board would be discharged.
The chief justice also made it clear that there would be no oral mentioning. When the senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi asked what would be the procedure for mentioning of most urgent matters, he said that they could be brought to the notice of the registry. He, however, said that some teething problems would be looked into and taken care of.
In earlier steps to streamline the functioning of the apex court, Chief Justice Kapadia has set up a bench that will meet every Monday to hear the problems being faced by the subordinate judiciary. One of the proposal is to place under the control of the high court concerned, all the revenue generated by the judiciary for improving the infrastructure in subordinate courts.
Besides this, Chief Justice Kapadia has set a constitution bench that will meet on regular basis. Soon after becoming the head of the top court, Chief Justice Kapadia issued clear instructions that no frivolous PIL would be entertained. This has already brought down their filing substantially.