Indian Judiciary, the Supreme Court of India, Independence of Supreme Court Judges, Jurisdiction

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Indian Judiciary

The Supreme Court of India

  • The highest court of Justice in the country is the Supreme Court. It now consists of the Chief Justice and 25 other Judges.

  • The Chief Justice is appointed by the President of India in consultation with the Judges of the Supreme Court.

  • The President appoints the other Judges of the Supreme Court in consultation with the Chief Justice.

Qualifications of the Judges

In order to be a judge of the Supreme Court, a person must be;

  • A citizen of India

  • A judge of a High Court of not less than five years’ standing or an advocate of ten years’ standing in a High Court or an eminent jurist.

Term

  • The Judge of the Supreme Court holds office till the age of 65 years. He can be removed only on the ground of proven misbehaviour. Both the Houses of Parliament will pass a motion to that effect by a two third majority of the members present and voting.

  • But this cannot be less than a majority of the total membership of the House. After this, the President issues an order for the removal of the judge.

Salary and Allowances

  • The Chief Justice draws a salary of Rs.33, 000/- per month. The salary of other Judges is Rs.30, 000/- per month. Every Judge is given a rent free official residence.

  • The pay and allowances of judges are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.

  • A retired Judge of the Supreme Court is debarred from practising in any Court of law or before any other authority in India.

Location

The Supreme Court of India is located in New Delhi.

Independence of Supreme Court Judges

The independence of the Judges of the Supreme Court is ensured by the following:

  • The salaries of the Judges have been fixed under the Second Schedule and these shall not be varied to their disadvantages after their appointment.

  • The administrative expenses of the Supreme Court, including pay and allowances of the Judges and their staff, are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. These expenses are not subject to Parliamentary Vote.

  • The President has to consult, among others, the Chief Justice or the Judges of the Supreme Court while appointing the Judges or the chief Justice of India, as the case may be. This ensures appointment of Judges with independent bent of mind.

  • A Supreme Court Judge cannot be removed by the President except on a joint address by both Houses of Parliament on ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity of Judge in question.

  • Discussion of the conduct of a Judge of the Supreme Court (or a High Court) in Parliament is forbidden except in a case when a motion has already been introduced to remove the Judge.

  • After retirement, a Supreme Court Judge shall not plead or act in any Court or before any authority in the country.

  • There is analogous provision in the case of High Court Judges.

Jurisdiction

The Supreme Court has three kinds of jurisdiction, namely

  • Original;

  • Appellate, and

  • Advisory.

Original Jurisdiction

  • The Supreme Court is empowered to decide all disputes between the Union and one or more States.

  • Under Article 32 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court can enforce fundamental rights guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution.

  • It is empowered to issue directions or orders of writs including those in the nature of writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo- warrantor and certiorari, whichever may be appropriate, to enforce the fundamental rights.

Appellate Jurisdiction

  • The Supreme Court hears appeals from any judgement passed by a High Court and which involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution.

  • The appeals for civil and criminal cases arising from the judgements of High Courts lie with the Supreme Court. However in case of a civil suit appeal, the case must involve a substantial question of law of general importance.

  • It has jurisdiction over all courts and tribunals in India and can grant special leave to appeal against any judgement made by these courts and tribunals.

Advisory Jurisdiction

  • The President can seek the opinion of Supreme Court on important questions of law and fact. The Supreme Court shall have the power to make rules for its working, subject to the laws made by the parliament in this regard.

  • The minimum number of Judges to decide an issue involving the interpretation of the constitution or any Presidential reference is five.

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