Chapter 28: SUPREME COURT

Introduction

Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal. Constitution deals with jurisdiction, independence, powers, procedures and organization. Parliament can also regulate them. It can increase the number of judges. Parliament can’t curtail the jurisdiction but expand it only.

Supreme Court has the power to punish for its contempt.

Appointment of judges is done by the president. For the chief justice the president consults as many judges of the Supreme Court and high court as he may deem necessary. For the other judges he has to consult the chief justice of India and as many other judges of the S.C and H..C as he may deem necessary.

Conduct of the judges in performance of their duties can’t be discussed in parliament except when a motion for their impeachment is being considered.

Qualification for judges of the S.C:


  1. He should be a citizen of India
  2. He should fulfill at least one criteria from below:

a. He should be a judge of H.C in succession for 5 years

b. He should be an advocate of H.C in succession for 10 years

c. He should be a distinguished jurist in the opinion of the president. 


Tenure:

Occupies office till he attains the age of 65 yrs.

Can resign anytime in writing to the president.

Can be removed by president on recommendation of parliament.

 

Removal of judges [Act of Parliament]: 

A motion support removal must be supported by 100 LS / 50 RS members. The presiding officer may or may not admit it. If admitted an inquiry committee of Chief justice of India or a Supreme Court judge; Chief justice of high court and distinguished jurist checks if judge is guilty; if the committee finds the judge guilty then parliament can pass a motion by special majority in both houses.

An address supported by this motion must be presented to the president on the same day. Then by a presidential order the judge can be removed.


Acting Chief Justice or Adhoc S.C Judges

President can appoint a S.C judge as acting chief justice if the Chief justice is absent or can’t perform his duties or the office is vacant.

The chief justice with the previous consent of the president may appoint adhoc judges to the Supreme Court by nominating high court judges who are duly qualified. The consultation of the chief justice of the high court is also needed. Also retired judges of H.C or S.C can be appointed if their consent is there. But he won’t be considered as S.C judge.

Retired judges of S.C. are banned from pleading or acting in any court before any authority in India.

The C.J.I. can with the approval of the president designate other seats of the S.C. too.


Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court

Original and exclusive jurisdiction: Only the supreme court can adjudicate matters of dispute between Centre and one / more states on one hand and one / more states on the other OR between states OR between centre and one or more states. Election disputes of president and vice president can be considered by it only.

Writ jurisdiction: S.C can issue writs for safeguarding or enforcing fundamental rights if aggrieved citizens approach it. The citizens can approach it directly too. This jurisdiction is concurrent to jurisdiction of H.C. However the writ jurisdiction of H.C's are wider but unlike Supreme courts they are discretionary powers.

Appellate jurisdiction: The final court of appeals means SC can hear appeals of following kinds Constitutional matters [H.C. certifies that an interpretation to the constitution is needed], Civil matters [H.C certifies that substantial question of law is present], Criminal matters and Special leave.  Special leave jurisdiction is a discretionary power that allows SC to admit an appeal on any judgment of court or tribunal except military tribunals.

Court of record: The judgments of the S.C are legal precedents.

Advisory jurisdiction: The S.C may give its opinion to the president when asked about a question of law or fact of public importance. S.C has to give its opinion if asked about disputes arising out of pre - constitution instruments.

Judicial review: The final interpreter of the constitution. It can invalidate laws or check their constitutional validity. It is the guarantor of fundamental rights and guardian of the constitution.

Principles of Natural Justice

  1. No one should be made a judge in his own cause.
  2. No one should be condemned unheard.





Q. In India, Judicial Review implies


  1. the power of the Judiciary to pronounce upon the constitutionality of laws and executive orders

  2. the power of the Judiciary to question the wisdom of the laws enacted by the Legislatures

  3. the power of the Judiciary to review all the legislative enactments before they are assented to by the President.

  4. the power of the Judiciary to review its own judgements given earlier in similar or different cases.


Ans . A


  1. Judicial review is the power of SC to examine the Constitutionality of legislative enactments and executive orders of both union and state Government


Q.Who/Which of the following is the Custodian of the Constitution of India? (UPSC CSAT 2015)


  • The President of India


  • The Prime Minister of India


  • The Lok Sabha Secretariat


  • The Supreme Court of India



Ans . A


  1. President of India takes the oath to “PRESERVE, PROTECT and DEFEND” the constitution of India and laws. Hence, he is the custodian of the constitution of India.

  2. On the other hand, Supreme Court judges take the oath to “UPHOLD the constitution” and the laws. Hence, it is the Guardian of the constitution of India.

Quiz

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