Supreme Court – UPSC Notes – Indian Polity

Unlike the American Constitution, the Indian Constitution has established a unified judicial system with the Supreme Court at its apex and the high courts positioned beneath it. Below the high courts, there exists a hierarchy of subordinate courts, including district courts and other lower courts. This consolidated system of courts, inherited from the Government of India Act of 1935, administers both Central laws and state laws. In contrast, the United States employs a dual court system, where federal laws are upheld by the federal judiciary and state laws by the state judiciary. Consequently, the U.S. operates with separate court systems for the federal and state levels. Despite being a federal nation akin to the USA, India boasts a unified judiciary and a singular system of fundamental law and justice.

The Supreme Court of India was inaugurated on January 28, 1950, succeeding the Federal Court of India established under the Government of India Act of 1935. However, the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court surpasses that of its predecessor, as it has supplanted the British Privy Council as the highest court of appeal.

Articles 124 to 147 in Part V of the Constitution delineate the organization, independence, jurisdiction, powers, procedures, and other aspects of the Supreme Court. The Parliament also holds authority to regulate these matters.

Organization of the Supreme Court

Currently, the Supreme Court comprises thirty-one judges, including one Chief Justice and thirty others. In February 2009, the central government announced an increase in the number of Supreme Court judges from twenty-six to thirty-one, inclusive of the Chief Justice of India. This adjustment followed the enactment of the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act, 2008. Initially, the Supreme Court’s strength was set at eight, including one Chief Justice and seven other judges. Over time, the Parliament has incrementally raised the number of other judges to ten in 1956, thirteen in 1960, seventeen in 1977, and twenty-five in 1986.

Appointment of Supreme Court Judges

The appointment of judges to the Supreme Court is carried out by the President of India. The Chief Justice is appointed by the President after consultation with select judges of the Supreme Court and high courts as deemed necessary. Other judges are appointed by the President after consultation with the Chief Justice and additional judges as deemed necessary. The consultation with the Chief Justice is mandatory for the appointment of any judge other than the Chief Justice.

Controversy over Consultation

The interpretation of the term “consultation” has sparked controversy within the Supreme Court. In the First Judges case (1982), the Court determined that consultation entails an exchange of views rather than requiring concurrence. However, in the Second Judges case (1993), the Court reversed its stance, equating consultation with concurrence. Consequently, the advice provided by the Chief Justice of India holds binding authority over the President in matters concerning the appointment of Supreme Court judges. Subsequent cases, such as the Third Judges case (1998), emphasized the necessity for a consultation process involving a plurality of judges. The Chief Justice must consult a collegium of the four most senior judges of the Supreme Court, and even if two judges offer dissenting opinions, the recommendation should not be forwarded to the government. The Court ruled that recommendations made by the Chief Justice of India without adhering to the prescribed consultation norms are not binding on the government.

The 99th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2014 and the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act of 2014 sought to replace the collegium system with the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). However, in 2015, the Supreme Court declared both acts unconstitutional and void. Consequently, the previous collegium system was reinstated. The Court’s decision, delivered in the Fourth Judges case (2015), cited concerns that the new system would compromise the independence of the judiciary.

Appointment of Chief Justice

From 1950 to 1973, the tradition dictated that the seniormost judge of the Supreme Court would assume the role of Chief Justice of India. However, this longstanding convention was disregarded in 1973 when A. N. Ray was appointed as the Chief Justice of India, bypassing three senior judges. Similarly, in 1977, M. U. Beg was appointed as the chief justice of India despite not being the most senior judge at the time. This discretionary power of the government was restricted by the Supreme Court in the Second Judges Case (1993), where it decreed that only the seniormost judge of the Supreme Court should hold the office of the chief justice of India.

Qualifications of Judges

A person eligible for appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court must meet the following criteria:

  1. He must be a citizen of India.
  2. (a) He should have served as a judge of a High Court (or successive high courts) for five years; or (b) He should have practiced as an advocate in a High Court (or successive high courts) for ten years; or (c) He must be recognized as a distinguished jurist by the President.

The Constitution does not stipulate a minimum age for appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court.

Oath or Affirmation

Before assuming office, a person appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court must take an oath or make an affirmation before the President or an appointed representative. In this oath, a judge of the Supreme Court pledges:

  1. To uphold the Constitution of India with true faith and allegiance.
  2. To preserve the sovereignty and integrity of India.
  3. To perform the duties of the office duly, faithfully, and to the best of their ability, knowledge, and judgment, without bias, affection, or ill-will.
  4. To uphold the Constitution and laws of the land.

Tenure of Judges

The Constitution does not specify the tenure of a judge of the Supreme Court, but it outlines three provisions:

  1. A judge remains in office until reaching the age of 65 years. Any dispute regarding age is resolved by the authority and in the manner determined by Parliament.
  2. A judge can resign by submitting a written communication to the President.
  3. A judge can be removed from office by the President upon the recommendation of Parliament.

Removal of Judges

A judge of the Supreme Court can be removed from office through an order of the President. However, this can only occur after Parliament presents an address for such removal during the same session.

  • The address must be supported by a special majority in each House of Parliament, requiring a majority of the total membership of that House and at least two-thirds of the members present and voting.
  • Grounds for removal include proved misbehavior or incapacity.

The Judges Enquiry Act (1968) governs the procedure for the removal of a Supreme Court judge through impeachment:

  1. A removal motion, endorsed by either 100 members (in the Lok Sabha) or 50 members (in the Rajya Sabha), is submitted to the Speaker/Chairman.
  2. The Speaker/Chairman may accept or reject the motion.
  3. If accepted, a three-member committee is formed by the Speaker/Chairman to investigate the charges.
  4. The committee comprises the chief justice or a Supreme Court judge, a chief justice of a high court, and a distinguished jurist.
  5. If the committee finds the judge guilty of misbehavior or incapacity, the motion is considered by the House.
  6. After both Houses of Parliament pass the motion by a special majority, an address is presented to the President for the judge’s removal.
  7. Finally, the President issues an order for removal.

Notably, no judge of the Supreme Court has been impeached to date. The only instance of impeachment involved Justice V Ramaswami (1991–1993). Although an enquiry Committee found him guilty of misbehavior, the impeachment motion failed in the Lok Sabha due to abstention from voting by the Congress Party.

Salaries and Allowances

The salaries, allowances, privileges, leave, and pension of the judges of the Supreme Court are periodically determined by Parliament. Once appointed, these terms cannot be altered to the disadvantage of the judges, except during a financial emergency. In 2009, the salary of the Chief Justice was increased from 33,000 to 1 lakh per month, and that of a judge from 30,000 to 90,000 per month. Additionally, they receive sumptuary allowance and are provided with free accommodation and other amenities such as medical benefits, car, telephone, etc.

Upon retirement, Chief Justices and judges are entitled to 50 percent of their last drawn salary as a monthly pension.

Acting Chief Justice

In circumstances where:

  1. The office of Chief Justice of India is vacant,
  2. The Chief Justice of India is temporarily absent, or
  3. The Chief Justice of India is unable to perform the duties of the office,

The President holds the authority to appoint a judge of the Supreme Court as an acting Chief Justice of India.

Ad hoc Judge

In the event of an insufficient quorum of permanent judges to conduct or sustain any session of the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice of India possesses the prerogative to designate a judge from a High Court as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court for a temporary duration. This appointment can only be made following consultation with the concerned chief justice of the respective High Court and with the prior consent of the President. The appointed judge must be qualified for the position of a Supreme Court judge. It is incumbent upon the appointed judge to prioritize attendance at Supreme Court sittings over other obligations. During this time, the appointed judge holds all the jurisdiction, powers, and privileges, and fulfills the duties of a Supreme Court judge.

Retired Judges

The Chief Justice of India reserves the right to invite a retired Supreme Court judge or a retired High Court judge (who is duly qualified for appointment as a Supreme Court judge) to serve as a Supreme Court judge for a temporary duration. Such an appointment can only proceed with the prior consent of both the President and the individual being appointed. The appointed judge is entitled to allowances determined by the President and retains all the jurisdiction, powers, and privileges of a Supreme Court judge during the tenure. However, the judge will not be officially considered as a Supreme Court judge outside of this appointment.

Seat of the Supreme Court

According to the Constitution, Delhi is designated as the seat of the Supreme Court. However, the Chief Justice of India is empowered to designate other locations as the seat of the Supreme Court with the President’s approval. This provision is discretionary rather than mandatory, indicating that neither the President nor the Chief Justice can be compelled by any court to appoint a different location as the seat of the Supreme Court.

Court Procedures

The Supreme Court, with the President’s consent, has the authority to establish rules governing the court’s practice and procedure. Constitutional cases or references referred by the President under Article 143 are adjudicated by a bench comprising at least five judges. Other cases are typically heard by a bench consisting of no fewer than three judges. Judgments are pronounced in open court, and decisions are made by majority vote. In the event of dissenting opinions, judges are permitted to deliver dissenting judgments or opinions.

Independence of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court holds a pivotal position in the Indian democratic system, serving as a federal court, the highest court of appeal, protector of citizens’ fundamental rights, and guardian of the Constitution. Therefore, its independence is paramount for the effective execution of its assigned duties, free from encroachments, pressures, or interferences from the executive (council of ministers) and the legislature (Parliament). It should have the liberty to dispense justice without any bias.

To safeguard and ensure the independent and impartial functioning of the Supreme Court, the Constitution has enacted the following provisions:

  1. Mode of Appointment: Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President in consultation with members of the judiciary, ensuring that judicial appointments are not influenced by political or practical considerations.
  2. Security of Tenure: Supreme Court judges have security of tenure and can only be removed by the President as per the grounds and procedures specified in the Constitution, thereby preventing arbitrary removals.
  3. Fixed Service Conditions: Salaries, allowances, privileges, leave, and pension of Supreme Court judges are determined by Parliament and cannot be altered to their detriment after appointment, except during a financial emergency, ensuring consistent service conditions.
  4. Expenses Charged on Consolidated Fund: Salaries, allowances, pensions, and administrative expenses of the Supreme Court are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India, making them non-votable by Parliament and safeguarding financial autonomy.
  5. Conduct of Judges cannot be Discussed: Discussion regarding the conduct of Supreme Court judges in discharge of their duties is prohibited in Parliament or State Legislature, except during impeachment proceedings.
  6. Ban on Practice after Retirement: Retired Supreme Court judges are prohibited from practicing or acting in any court or before any authority in India, preventing potential bias in favor of any party.
  7. Power to Punish for Contempt: The Supreme Court has the authority to punish individuals for contempt, ensuring its actions and decisions are not subjected to undue criticism or opposition.
  8. Freedom to Appoint its Staff: The Chief Justice of India has the freedom to appoint officers and staff of the Supreme Court without interference from the executive and can determine their conditions of service.
  9. Jurisdiction cannot be Curtailed: Parliament cannot diminish the jurisdiction and powers of the Supreme Court, as guaranteed by the Constitution, although it can extend them.
  10. Separation from Executive: The Constitution mandates the separation of the judiciary from the executive in public services, thereby eliminating the involvement of executive authorities in judicial administration upon implementation.

Jurisdiction and Powers of the Supreme Court

The Constitution has endowed the Supreme Court with extensive jurisdiction and vast powers. Unlike solely a Federal Court akin to the American Supreme Court, it also functions as a final court of appeal similar to the British House of Lords (the Upper House of the British Parliament). Moreover, it assumes the role of the ultimate interpreter and guardian of the Constitution, as well as the guarantor of citizens’ fundamental rights. Additionally, it holds advisory and supervisory powers. As rightly noted by Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar, a member of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution, “The Supreme Court of India has more powers than any other Supreme Court in any part of the world.” The jurisdiction and powers of the Supreme Court can be categorized as follows:

  1. Original Jurisdiction
  2. Writ Jurisdiction
  3. Appellate Jurisdiction
  4. Advisory Jurisdiction
  5. A Court of Record
  6. Power of Judicial Review
  7. Other Powers
  1. Original Jurisdiction

As a federal court, the Supreme Court adjudicates disputes between different units of the Indian Federation. Specifically, it resolves disputes involving:

(a) Conflicts between the Centre and one or more states. (b) Disagreements between the Centre and any state(s) on one side and one or more states on the other. (c) Disputes among two or more states.

In such federal disputes, the Supreme Court holds exclusive original jurisdiction. “Exclusive” denotes that no other court can adjudicate such disputes, while “original” signifies the authority to hear them in the first instance, not through appeal.

Regarding the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, two crucial points are noteworthy. First, the dispute must entail a question (whether legal or factual) crucial to the existence or extent of a legal right, thereby excluding purely political matters. Second, suits initiated by private citizens against the Centre or a state cannot be entertained under this jurisdiction.

However, this jurisdiction does not extend to:

(a) Disputes stemming from pre-Constitution treaties, agreements, covenants, engagements, sanads, or similar instruments. (b) Disputes arising from treaties, agreements, etc., explicitly excluding the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. (c) Inter-state water disputes. (d) Matters referred to the Finance Commission. (e) Adjustment of certain expenses and pensions between the Centre and the states. (f) Routine commercial disputes between the Centre and the states. (g) State claims for damages against the Centre.

In 1961, the Supreme Court handled its first case under original jurisdiction when West Bengal filed suit against the Centre challenging the Constitutional validity of the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957. The Supreme Court, however, upheld the Act’s validity, dismissing the suit.

  1. Writ Jurisdiction

The Constitution designates the Supreme Court as the guardian and protector of citizens’ fundamental rights. Empowered by this mandate, the Supreme Court can issue various writs, including habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto, and certiorari, to enforce these fundamental rights for aggrieved citizens. In this context, the Supreme Court holds original jurisdiction, enabling aggrieved citizens to approach it directly, not solely through appeal. However, it’s important to note that the Supreme Court’s writ jurisdiction is not exclusive. High courts also possess the authority to issue writs for fundamental rights enforcement. Therefore, when a citizen’s fundamental rights are violated, they have the option to seek recourse either from the high court or the Supreme Court directly.

Hence, the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction in federal disputes differs from its jurisdiction in disputes related to fundamental rights. In the former, it’s exclusive, while in the latter, it’s concurrent with high court jurisdiction. Moreover, in federal disputes, the parties involved are units of the federation (Centre and states), whereas in disputes concerning fundamental rights, the conflict arises between a citizen and the government (Central or state).

Furthermore, there’s a distinction between the writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and that of the high courts. The Supreme Court can only issue writs to enforce fundamental rights, whereas high courts can issue writs not only for fundamental rights enforcement but also for other purposes. This indicates that the high court’s writ jurisdiction is broader than that of the Supreme Court. However, the Parliament has the authority to confer upon the Supreme Court the power to issue writs for other purposes as well.

  1. Appellate Jurisdiction

As previously noted, the Supreme Court has succeeded the Federal Court of India and supplanted the British Privy Council as the highest court of appeal. Functioning primarily as an appellate court, it hears appeals against judgments rendered by lower courts. Its expansive appellate jurisdiction can be categorized into four main areas:

(a) Appeals in Constitutional Matters: In cases involving constitutional issues, an appeal can be made to the Supreme Court against a high court judgment if the high court certifies that the case entails a significant legal question requiring constitutional interpretation. Based on this certification, the concerned party can appeal to the Supreme Court on the grounds of erroneous decision-making.

(b) Appeals in Civil Matters: In civil cases, an appeal can be filed with the Supreme Court from any high court judgment if the high court certifies that the case involves a substantial legal question of general importance that necessitates resolution by the Supreme Court. Initially, only civil cases involving a sum of ₹20,000 could be appealed to the Supreme Court, but this monetary limit was abolished by the 30th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1972.

(c) Appeals in Criminal Matters: The Supreme Court entertains appeals against judgments in criminal cases from high courts under specific circumstances, including instances where the high court has reversed an order of acquittal and sentenced the accused to death or has convicted and sentenced the accused to death after taking up a case from a subordinate court. Additionally, an appeal can be made if the high court certifies the case as suitable for appeal to the Supreme Court. However, there is no right to appeal to the Supreme Court if the high court has acquitted the accused.

In 1970, Parliament expanded the Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to include cases where the high court has reversed an order of acquittal and sentenced the accused to imprisonment for life or ten years or has convicted the accused and sentenced them to imprisonment for life or ten years after taking up a case from a subordinate court.

Furthermore, the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court encompasses all civil and criminal cases within the former jurisdiction of the Federal Court of India that are not covered under the aforementioned civil and criminal appellate jurisdictions of the Supreme Court.

(d) Appeal by Special Leave: The Supreme Court has the discretion to grant special leave to appeal from any judgment in any matter issued by any court or tribunal in the country (except military tribunals and court-martials). This discretionary power allows for appeals on a broad range of subjects, including constitutional, civil, criminal, tax, labor, revenue, and advocacy matters. It can be granted against any court or tribunal, not limited to high courts, albeit excluding military courts.

This provision grants the Supreme Court extensive jurisdiction to hear appeals, with the court itself acknowledging the need for cautious and sparing exercise of this exceptional and overriding power, especially in extraordinary circumstances.

  1. Advisory Jurisdiction

According to the Constitution (Article 143), the president has the authority to seek the opinion of the Supreme Court in two categories of matters:

(a) On any question of law or fact of public importance that has arisen or is likely to arise. (b) On any dispute arising from a pre-constitution treaty, agreement, covenant, engagement, sanad, or similar instrument.

In the first case, the Supreme Court may choose to tender its opinion to the president or refuse to do so. However, in the second case, the Supreme Court is obligated to provide its opinion to the president. In both scenarios, the opinion offered by the Supreme Court is advisory in nature and not a judicial pronouncement. Therefore, it is not binding on the president, who retains the discretion to either follow or disregard the opinion. Nevertheless, seeking such an opinion enables the government to obtain an authoritative legal perspective on matters it needs to decide.

Up until 2013, the President has made fifteen references to the Supreme Court under its advisory jurisdiction, also known as consultative jurisdiction. These references are listed below in chronological order:

  1. Delhi Laws Act in 1951
  2. Kerala Education Bill in 1958
  3. Berubari Union in 1960
  4. Sea Customs Act in 1963
  5. Keshav Singh’s case concerning the privileges of the Legislature in 1964
  6. Presidential Election in 1974
  7. Special Courts Bill in 1978
  8. Jammu and Kashmir Resettlement Act in 1982
  9. Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in 1992
  10. Rama Janma Bhumi case in 1993
  11. Consultation process to be adopted by the Chief Justice of India in 1998
  12. Legislative competence of the Centre and States regarding natural gas and liquefied natural gas in 2001
  13. The constitutional validity of the Election Commission’s decision to defer the Gujarat Assembly Elections in 2002
  14. Punjab Termination of Agreements Act in 2004
  15. 2G spectrum case verdict and the mandatory auctioning of natural resources across all sectors in 2012
  1. A Court of Record

As a Court of Record, the Supreme Court possesses two significant powers:

(a) The judgements, proceedings, and acts of the Supreme Court are meticulously recorded for perpetual memory and testimony. These records hold evidentiary value and are beyond questioning when presented before any court. They serve as legal precedents and references.

(b) The Supreme Court is vested with the authority to punish for contempt of court, either through simple imprisonment for a term of up to six months, a fine of up to 2,000 rupees, or both. In 1991, the Supreme Court established its power to punish for contempt not only of itself but also of high courts, subordinate courts, and tribunals operating nationwide.

Contempt of court may manifest in civil or criminal forms. Civil contempt involves willful disobedience to any judgement, order, writ, or other court process, or a willful breach of an undertaking given to a court. Criminal contempt encompasses the publication of any matter or act that scandalizes or lowers the authority of a court, prejudices or interferes with the due course of a judicial proceeding, or obstructs the administration of justice in any manner. However, certain acts such as innocent publication, fair and accurate reporting of judicial proceedings, and reasonable criticism of judicial acts do not constitute contempt of court.

  1. Power of Judicial Review

Judicial review denotes the authority of the Supreme Court to scrutinize the constitutionality of legislative enactments and executive orders issued by both the Central and state governments. If found violative of the Constitution (ultra-vires), such enactments or orders can be deemed illegal, unconstitutional, and invalid (null and void) by the Supreme Court, rendering them unenforceable by the Government.

  1. Other Powers

Apart from the aforementioned powers, the Supreme Court possesses several other authorities:

(a) It adjudicates disputes concerning the election of the president and the vice-president, wielding original, exclusive, and final authority in this regard.

(b) On reference by the president, it investigates the conduct of the chairman and members of the Union Public Service Commission, and if found guilty of misbehavior, it can recommend their removal, with such advice being binding on the President.

(c) The Supreme Court has the power to review its own judgements or orders, enabling it to depart from previous decisions in the interest of justice or societal welfare. This self-correcting capability was exemplified in the Kesavananda Bharati case (1973), where it departed from its earlier judgement in the Golak Nath case (1967).

(d) It can withdraw cases pending before high courts and dispose of them itself, and also transfer cases or appeals pending before one high court to another.

(e) The law laid down by the Supreme Court is binding on all courts across India, and its decrees or orders are enforceable nationwide. All authorities, both civil and judicial, are obligated to assist the Supreme Court in its endeavors.

(f) As the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution, the Supreme Court provides the final interpretation of the Constitution’s provisions and wording.

(g) It exercises judicial superintendence and control over all courts and tribunals throughout the country.

The Parliament has the authority to expand the Supreme Court‘s jurisdiction and powers concerning matters in the Union list. Additionally, the jurisdiction and powers pertaining to other matters can be broadened through a special agreement between the Centre and the states.

Supreme Court Advocates

There are three categories of advocates authorized to practice law before the Supreme Court:

  1. Senior Advocates: These are advocates who have been designated as Senior Advocates either by the Supreme Court of India or by any High Court. The Court can confer the title of Senior Advocate upon any advocate, with their consent, if it deems them deserving of such distinction based on their ability, standing at the Bar, special knowledge, or experience in law. A Senior Advocate is required to appear in the Supreme Court only through an Advocate-on-Record and must be accompanied by a junior advocate in any other court or tribunal in India. They are restricted from accepting instructions to draw pleadings or affidavits, advising on evidence, or engaging in drafting work in any court or tribunal in India, except for settling such matters in consultation with a junior.

Comparing Indian and American Supreme Courts

Indian Supreme CourtAmerican Supreme Court
1. Its original jurisdiction is confined to federal cases.1. Its original jurisdiction covers not only federal cases but also cases relating to naval forces, maritime activities, ambassadors, etc.
2. Its appellate jurisdiction covers constitutional, civil, and criminal cases.2. Its appellate jurisdiction is confined to constitutional cases only.
3. It has a very wide discretion to grant special leave to appeal in any matter against the judgment of any court or tribunal (except military).3. It has no such plenary power.
4. It has advisory jurisdiction.4. It has no advisory jurisdiction.
5. Its scope of judicial review is limited.5. Its scope of judicial review is very wide.
6. It defends rights of the citizen according to the ‘procedure established by law’.6. It defends rights of the citizen according to the ‘due process of law’.
7. Its jurisdiction and powers can be enlarged by Parliament.7. Its jurisdiction and powers are limited to that conferred by the Constitution.
8. It has the power of judicial superintendence and control over state high courts due to an integrated judicial system.8. It has no such power due to a double (or separated) judicial system.

Articles Related to Supreme Court at a Glance

Article No.Subject-matter
124Establishment and Constitution of Supreme Court
124ANational Judicial Appointments Commission
124BFunctions of Commission
124CPower of Parliament to make law
125Salaries, etc., of Judges
126Appointment of acting Chief Justice
127Appointment of ad hoc Judges
128Attendance of retired Judges at sittings of the Supreme Court
129Supreme Court to be a court of record
130Seat of Supreme Court
131Original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
131AExclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in regard to questions as to constitutional validity of Central Laws (Repealed)
132Appellate jurisdiction of Supreme Court in appeals from High Courts in certain cases
133Appellate jurisdiction of Supreme Court in appeals from High Courts in regard to civil matters
134Appellate jurisdiction of Supreme Court in regard to criminal matters
134ACertificate for appeal to the Supreme Court
135Jurisdiction and powers of the Federal Court under existing law to be exercisable by the Supreme Court
136Special leave to appeal by the Supreme Court
137Review of judgments or orders by the Supreme Court
138Enlargement of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
139Conferment on the Supreme Court of powers to issue certain writs
139ATransfer of certain cases
140Ancillary powers of Supreme Court
141Law declared by Supreme Court to be binding on all courts
142Enforcement of decrees and orders of Supreme Court and orders as to discovery, etc.
143Special provisions as to the disposal of questions relating to constitutional validity of laws (Repealed)
144Civil and judicial authorities to act in aid of the Supreme Court
144ASpecial provisions as to the disposal of questions relating to the constitutional validity of laws (Repealed)
145Rules of court, etc.
146Officers and servants and the expenses of the Supreme Court

2. Advocates-on-Record: Only advocates designated as Advocates-on-Record are authorized to file any matter or document before the Supreme Court. They are also permitted to appear or act for a party in the Supreme Court.

3. Other Advocates: These advocates are those whose names are listed on the roll of any State Bar Council maintained under the Advocates Act, 1961. They can appear and argue on behalf of a party in the Supreme Court, but they are not allowed to file any document or matter before the Court.

FAQs on Supreme Court

1. How does the judicial system in India differ from that of the United States?

  • In India, there is a unified judiciary with the Supreme Court at the apex, while the U.S. employs a dual court system with separate federal and state judiciaries.

2. How is the Supreme Court of India organized?

  • The Supreme Court consists of a Chief Justice and thirty other judges, as per the current arrangement.

3. How are Supreme Court judges appointed in India?

  • Supreme Court judges are appointed by the President of India after consultation with the Chief Justice and other judges as necessary.

4. What is the controversy surrounding the consultation process for appointing Supreme Court judges?

  • The interpretation of “consultation” has varied, leading to debates over whether it requires mere exchange of views or concurrence.

5. What was the purpose of the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2014 and the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act of 2014?

  • These acts aimed to replace the collegium system with the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) for appointing judges.

6. How is the Chief Justice of India appointed?

  • Traditionally, the most senior judge assumes the role, but this practice was legally established through the Second Judges Case in 1993.

7. What are the qualifications required for someone to be appointed as a Supreme Court judge in India?

  • Eligibility criteria include being a citizen of India and having served as a High Court judge for five years, practiced as an advocate for ten years, or recognized as a distinguished jurist.

8. What is the process for removing a judge from the Supreme Court?

  • The President can remove a judge upon recommendation by Parliament, following specific grounds such as proved misbehavior or incapacity.

9. How are salaries and allowances determined for Supreme Court judges?

  • Parliament periodically determines the salaries, allowances, privileges, and pensions of Supreme Court judges, ensuring they cannot be altered to their disadvantage except during a financial emergency.

10. What are the various powers and jurisdictions of the Supreme Court of India?

  • The Supreme Court has original, appellate, advisory, and writ jurisdictions, along with powers such as judicial review, acting as a court of record, and more.

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