- The Supreme Court of India stands at the apex of the judicial system of India.
- It consists of Chief Justice & 30 other judges.
- The senior most judge of the Supreme Court is appointed as the Chief Justice of India.
- Other judges are appointed by the President after consultation with such judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts as the President may deem necessary.
- In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court in the “Supreme Court Advocates – on – Record Association vs. Union of India” case, 1993, held that the Chief Justice’s opinion in the appointment of the judges of the Supreme Court and in the appointment and transfer of the judges of the High Court shall enjoy primacy.
- The person must be Indian National.
- He / She Have been a judge of High Court for 5 years or an advocate of High Court for 10 yrs minimum or in President’s view, a distinguished jurist of the country
The Chief Justice & other judges hold office till 65 years of age.
- Can give resignation to President.
- Can be removed by the Parliament.
- After retirement, a judge of Supreme Court cannot plead or act before any authority.
Supreme Court Judge Salary :
Chief Justice – Rupee 1,00,000 per month
Other Judges – Rupee 90,000 per month
Removal of Judges
A motion seeking the removal of the judge can be preferred before either House of the Parliament. If it is to be introduced in the Lok Sabha, it should be signed in by not less than 100 members of the Lok Sabha.
If it is to be introduced in the Rajya Sabha, the motion should be signed in by not less than 50 members. The resolution should be supported by a majority of total membership of both the houses & by 2/3 majority of the members present & voting.
Other Important Points
The Chief Justice can appoint ad hoc judges in the Supreme Court after the consent of President; important aspect is they should be qualified to do so.
The Chief Justice, with the previous consent of the President, may request a retired Judge of the Supreme Court or a retired judge of a High Court who is duly qualified to be appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court, to sit and act as a judge of the Supreme Court.
Supreme Court normally sits in New Delhi. Can hold its meetings outside if the decision is taken by Chief Justice on consultation with the President.
Independence of Judges
The Constitution has ensured this by :
- Salaries from Consolidated Fund.
- Salaries cannot be changed to their disadvantage.
- Removal difficult.
- Cannot practice after retirement.
- Decision & actions of judges cannot be criticized & the person doing so can be punished.
- Conduct of judges cannot be discussed in Parliament.
- President cannot appoint judges of the Supreme Court himself, he has to consult the judges also.
Original Jurisdiction : The Supreme Court settles all disputes between Centre – State, State – State, etc.
Writ Jurisdiction : Every individual has the right to move the Supreme Court directly by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of his Fundamental Rights.
Appellate Jurisdiction : The appellate jurisdiction of Supreme Court of India is described below-
Constitutional Jurisdiction: In constitutional matters, an appeal lies to the Supreme Court if the High Court certifies that the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution.
Civil Jurisdiction : In civil cases, an appeal lies to the Supreme Court if a High Court certifies that the value of the subject matter of the dispute is not less than Rupee 20,000 or that the case is fit for appeal to the Supreme Court.
Criminal Jurisdiction : In criminal cases, an appeal lies to the Supreme Court if the High Court :
- Has on appeal reversed the order of acquittal of an accused and sentenced him to death ( or )
- Has withdrawn for trial before itself any case from any – subordinate court and has in such trial convicted the accused and sentenced him to death ( or )
- Certifies that the case is fit for appeal to the Supreme Court.
Advisory Jurisdiction: If the President seeks the advice of Supreme Court, it is duty bound to give its opinion (Its opinion isn’t a binding on President ).
Revisory Jurisdiction : The Supreme Court under Article 137 is empowered to review any judgement or order made by it with a view to removing any mistake or error that might have crept in the judgement or order.
It is a court of record as its decisions are of evidentiary value & cannot be questioned in any court.
The Supreme Court also enjoys the power of judicial review as it can ensure that the laws passed by legislature and orders issued by the executive do not contravene any provision of the Constitution
The Supreme Court decides disputes regarding the election of the President and the Vice President
The Supreme Court recommends the removal of members of UPSC to the President.