The Supreme Court of India (SC) is the apex court established under the Constitution of India. It is the highest court in India and as Article 141 states, any law declared by the Supreme Court is binding on all courts within the territory of India. This apex court is headed by the Cheif Justice of India along with 32 other Judges duly appointed by the President of India.
The provisions relating to the Union Judiciary has been laid down in part V Chapter IV i.e Article 124 to 147 of the Constitution of India
The court(SC) is one of the most vital institutions in a vast and chaotic democracy of 1.3 billion people, weighing in on wild dogs, killer tigers, mob lynchings, garbage dumps and Muslim divorce rules — hot potatoes that Indian politicians won’t touchwww.nytimes.com
As a matter of jurisdiction, the Supreme court has 3 types of Jurisdiction: original, appellate, and advisory.
Its exclusive original jurisdiction under Article 131 refers to the admission of disputes between the government of India and other states or between one state and another or between two or more states.
Additionally, anyone can move the Supreme court of India under Article 32 enforcing any of the five writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto, and certiorari.
The Supreme Court under Article 139A also holds the power to transfer pending cases which involves the same or substantially the same question of law between the Supreme Court and any of the High Courts or between any of the High Courts in the country or Withdraw the same and dispose it off itself either on its own motion i.e Suo-moto or by an application from the Attorney General of India or the parties concerned.
The appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court may be invoked via a certificate from the High Court concerned on matters of Civil, Criminal or other proceedings. The provisions relating to the appellate jurisdiction of the SC are mentioned in Article 132, 133, and 134 of the Constitution of India.
In brief, the Articles 132 to 134 state that if the High Court is satisfied that the matter may involve a substantial question of law or of general importance and the said question needs to be decided by the Supreme court then it may issue a certificate to the parties concerned to move the Supreme Court for an appeal.
Subsequently, under Article 134 the Supreme Court reserves the right to issue a special leave appeal (Petitions filed through this is known as Special leave petitions) in its discretion granting special permission of appeal from any judgment, decree or order in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or tribunal within the territory of India except orders passed by or under the tribunals or courts of the Armed Forces.
The SC also holds the right to review its own judgement under Article 137 of the Constitution.
As the name suggests, the SC has been made duty-bound by Article 143 to assist the President of India if at any time he should require consultation regarding any question of law or public importance.
Additionally, as Article 144 states, all Civil and judicial authorities shall act in aid of the Supreme Court. The SC also reserved the right to punish for contempt of court including the contempt for itself under Articles 129 and 142 of the Constitution.
Unlike the United States Supreme Court, which agrees to hear only about 70 cases a year, the various panels of the Indian Supreme Court hear up to 700 legal matters a day.www.nytimes.com
Constitution of the Supreme Court of India
This office at the SC, is the place where a person files the matter and thereupon receives the diary number. The registry also looks after the orders of the court and compiles them.
The Secretary-General of India, assisted by 10 registrars, several additional and deputy registrars, etc., along with thousands of other employees in all manage the Supreme Court registry.
Supreme Court Rules, 2013 state only those advocates who are registered with the supreme court that is the advocates-on-record can appear, act, and plead for a party in the court. Any senior advocate who has been designated as such by the HC and Sc can appear at the Supreme Court along with an advocates-on-record.
Additionally, any other advocate may appear for a party under the guidance or instructions of an advocates-on-record.
The Supreme Court of India is headed by a chief justice. The definition of Chief justice has been laid down in the Supreme Court Rules, 2013. ‘Chief Justice’ means the Chief Justice of India, and includes a Judge appointed under Article 126 of Constitution to perform the duties of the Chief Justice.
The Chief Justice of India is appointed by the President of India in consultation with the other judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts of the states as the President may deem necessary and shall hold office until he reaches the age of 65 years as laid down in Article 124.
Size of the Supreme Court
The SC of India initially started in 1950 with 8 Judges (including the Chief Justice) and gradually increased to 34 currently (including the Chief Justice). As the number of judges has increased from time to time, they sit in smaller benches of two or three.
The appointment of judges has been laid down in Article 124. Accompanying other requirements the article states that no judge of the apex court shall be appointed without consulting the Chief Justice.
The strength of the benches may vary from two to three judges in usual circumstances and the number increases with the complexity of the case. Cases involving Interpretation of the Constitution are heard by at least a 5 judge bench as provided under Article 145(3).
The largest-ever bench at the Supreme Court of India has been constituted in 1973 in Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala. A bench of 13 judges was set up to decide whether Parliament had the unfettered right to amend the Constitution or not that eventually gave rise to the Basic Structure doctrine.
Controversy surrounding the SCI
An apex of a country with 1.36 billion people will obviously have it surrounded by several controversies. Since 2018 there has been an uptrend of allegations of corruption on the supreme court judges. It was however unprecedented in the country’s judicial history [Media Article Archive]
An Article at the IBN LIVE (CNN-IBN), now deleted but can be accessed via the Web Archive, explains how the top seats at the Supreme Court were holidaying outside India at government’s expenses sanctioned by the PMO.
Balakrishnan, after taking over as Chief Justice, made at least seven trips abroad in 2007 traveling First Class with his wife with the airfare alone costing over Rs 39 lakh.
For instance, during his 11-day trip to Pretoria, South Africa in August 2007, the Chief Justice took the following route – Delhi, Dubai, Johannesburg, Nelspruit, Capetown, Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, where the judge finally didn’t go and returned via Dubai to Delhi.
The airfare alone cost Rs 5.70 lakh and did not include the stay, TA, DA or Entertainment Allowance. Entertainment Allowance itself was over Rs 80,000.
Government rules permit travel only by the shortest route, yet the Prime Ministers Office, which sanctions these trips, did not ask why the Chief Justice wanted to go to tourist destinations like Nelspruit, Capetown, or Victoria Falls.IBN LIVE
But the Supreme court of India is also globally recognized for its judgments. Be in the Rule of Law, Habeus Corpus Case, Decriminalisation of homosexuality, or settling the century old case of Babri masjid/ Ayodhya.
More Information to be updated soon