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Indian judiciary System the Supreme Court and High Court

Judiciary system in India.

Established in 1773 under the Regulating act in Calcutta. On 28 January 1950 Supreme Court of India inaugurated in New Delhi. The Indian constitution has established an integrated Judicial System. Proceeds are conducted in English only. Part 5 article 124 to 147

Three tier system Judiciary System in India

  • The Supreme Court
  • High Court (State Level)
  • Subordinate court (District Level)

Supreme court of India.

The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial forum and final court of appeal. According to the Constitution of India, the role of the Supreme Court is that of a federal court and guardian of the Constitution. The guarantor of Fundamental Rights of citizens.

Under Article 124(1) the constitution originally provided for 1 chief Justice of India and Not more than 6 other judges. The Constitution authorizes the Parliament to provide by law in fixing the Strength of the Judges of the Supreme Court.

The Parliament passed the Supreme Court (Number of Judges), a Constitutional Amendment Act in 2008, which increased the Strength of the Supreme Court to 31 ( I Chief Justice and 30 other judges).

Qualification to be a judge of the Supreme Court.

  • Must be a citizen of India.
  • He/she must have been, for at least five years as Judge of the  High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession.
  • Or an Advocate of a High Court or of two or more such Courts is succession for at least ten years
  • Or the person must be, in the opinion of the President, a distinguished jurist.

Appointment of the Chief Justice and Judge of Supreme Court (Article 124 (1 & 2))

Chief Justice of India and the Chief Justice of the High Court appointed by the President of India. Other Judges of the Supreme Court are also appointed by the President of India in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

Oath of the Chief Justice of India

The President of India or any other person appointed by him will take the oath of the Chief Justice of India (CJI).

Tenure and Removal of Chief Justice Of India (CJI)

Supreme Court Judges retire at the age of 65.

He can resign his office by writing to the President.

He can be removed from his post by the President on the recommendation of the parliament. Through the process of Impeachment, just like the President. He can only be removed for proved misbehaviour or incapacity.

Procedure of removal of Judge in Supreme Court

A motion can be raised in either of the houses. If it is raised in the Lok Sabha there must be  at least 100 members in support of it or if in Rajya Sabha at least  50 members are required.

The motion is then investigated by a committee of 3 (2 Judges of Supreme Court and a distinguished Jurist).

If the Committee finds the Judge guilty, a report is submitted in the house in which the motion is pending and if the ⅔ majority or more vote in support. The Judge is removed after  the President signs the order.

Some Important points on Supreme Court

The first woman judge of the Supreme Court was Justice Fatima Bibi in 1987. However, there has been no female Chief Justice.

The first Chief Justice of India was H.J. Kania (1950-1951).

The shortest tenure was for Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court Sanjay Yadav just 15 days

The Longest tenure was for Y V Chandrachud (1978-1985, Bombay)

Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court

Original Jurisdiction

Original Jurisdiction means that certain types of cases  can originate with the Supreme Court only.

The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in :

Disputes between the Centre government and one or more  States .

Disputes between the Center and any states on one side and one or more states on the other side.

Disputes between two or more states.

Disputes regarding the enforcement of Fundamental Rights.

The first such instance came in 1961, a dispute between the West Bengal and Centre Government.

Appellate Jurisdiction:

Appellate Jurisdiction means that appeals against judgements of lower courts can be referred to SC as the Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal in the country.

Advisory Jurisdiction given under Article 143

Advisory Jurisdiction refers to the process where the President seeks the Court’s advice on legal matters, under article 143.

If the President asks for advice from the Supreme Court, the Court is duty-bound to give it. However, it is not binding on the President to accept the advice.

Court of record article 129

The Supreme Court is a court of record. It has all the powers of such a Court including the power to punish for contempt of itself. Supreme Court decisions should be used as examples by the High Court and Subordinate Court.

Power of Judicial review

The Supreme Court has power to examine the Constitutionality of legislative enactments and executive orders of both Central and State governments.(taken from the constitution of USA)

Other powers

Its law is binding on all the Courts of the country.

It can review its own Judgment

It has the authority to withdraw pending High court cases.

High Court

The High court originated in India in 1862 when the High Courts were set up at Calcutta, Bombay, Madras and Allahabad High Court in 1866 by the Act of 1861.

The High Court of India operates below the Supreme Court.         

The High Court is at the apex of the Judicial administration of the State.

Article 214 of the Constitution provides that there shall be a High Court for each state and to extend the jurisdiction of a high court to a union territory. Similarly, Parliament can also reduce the area of jurisdiction of a High Court.

The High Court consists of a Chief Justice and some other Judges. The number of Judges is to be determined by the President of Indian from time to time.

The Chief Justice of a High Court is appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Governor of the state concerned under article 217. The procedure for  appointing other judges is the same except that the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned is also consulted. HC judges hold office in the same manner as judges of the Supreme Court.

 Some Facts of High Courts

In the Constitution there is a provision for the High Courts in each state but by the 7th amendment act of 1956 one or more states or the Union Territory can have a common High Court.

At Present there are a total of 25 High Courts in India and the latest one is the High Court Andhra Pradesh at Amravati and  Telangana at Hyderabad established in 2019.

Delhi is the Only UT that has had a High Court of its own since 1966.

Allahabad High Court has the highest number of Judges and Guwahati High Court has the largest number of States under it.

Qualification to be Chief Justice of High Court

A person shall be qualified for appointment as a judge of the High Court if

  • Must be a citizen of India.
  • Has for at least ten years held a judicial office in the territory of India, or
  • Has for at least ten years been an advocate of a High Court, or of two or more such courts in Succession.

Every judge of the High Court before entering upon his office shall make and Subscribe before the Governor of the State, an oath of affirmation in the form prescribed by the Constitution.

Process of removal of Judges in High Court

A judge of the High Court shall hold office until he attains the age of 62 years. A judge may resign from his office by writing under his hand to the president of India. He can also be removed by the President of India on the ground of proven misbehavior or inefficiency if a resolution to that effect is passed by both the Houses of Parliament by a 2/3 majority of the total members present and voting, supported by a majority of the total member of each house.

Jurisdiction of High Court

The High Court has Original Jurisdiction in such matters as writs and Appellate Jurisdiction over all Subordinate courts in their jurisdiction. Every High Court has the power to issue to any person or authority including any Government. within its jurisdiction, direction, or orders including writs which are in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus , Prohibition, Quo-Warranto and Certiorari or any of them for enforcement of fundamental rights conferred by part 3 of  the constitution and for any other purpose.

Election petitions challenging the elections of members of parliament or members of State Legislative Assembly or other Local bodies can be filed in the concerned High Court.

The High Courts have Appellate jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases against the decisions of lower courts.

Under Revisory jurisdiction, the High Court is empowered to call for the records of any court to satisfy itself about the correctness of the legality of the orders passed. This power may be exercised on the petition of the interested party or it can suo moto call for the records and pass necessary orders

All Courts except tribunals dealing with the Armed forces, are under the supervision of the High Court. Tribunals dealing with the Armed forces are not under the supervision of HC.

This power is enjoyed under Article 227 of the Constitution. Thus administration of the state’s  judiciary is the essential function of the High Court.

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