Supreme Court

Appointment of judges

Every judge of the Supreme Court is appointed by the President by warrant under his band and sea l after consultation with such Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts a6 the president may deem necessary for the purpose. In case of appoint.ment of a judge, other than chief Justice, t.he Chief Justice of India is to be necc'3sanly consulted. A Judge of the Supreme Court remains in office until he attains the age of65 years. No person can be appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court unless

(i) he is a citizen of India,
(ii) has been for at. least five years a Judge of High Court or has been for at least ten years an advocate of a High Court or two or more courts in succession,
(iii) is in the opinionof the President a distinguished jurist.

Privileges of Judges

A Judge of the Supreme Court is entilled to such salaries as are specified in the Second Schedule. Every Judge of the Supreme Comt is entitled to the use of an official residence without rent. Also, every judge is entitled to such privileges and allowances and to such respect of leave of absence and pension as may, from time to time , be determined by the Parliament.

Removal of Judges: Judge of the Supreme Court can only be removed from office by an order of the President, Parliament, supported by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that house present and voting. Has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity. The parliament has been empowered to regul,ate the procedure for the presentation ofan address and for the investigation and proof of the misbehavior or incapacity of a Judge under Article 124.

The Supreme Court is the highest court of justice in fndia. ft consists of one chief justice and 25 other judges. There is provision for the appointment of ad hoc judgea and even the retired judges may be at times. when the neceSSlty arises, requested to be present.

Powers and Functions: The Supreme Courtis a court of recol'd and exercises all the powers of such a court, including th~ power to punishfor the contempt of itself. Ita malO functionsmay be studied under the following heads:

Original Jurisdiction:
The Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction in aUdisputes-
(a) between the Government of India andone or more States;
(b) between the Government of India andany State or States on the other; and
(e) between two or more States.Such jurisdiction, however, does not extend to a dispute al'ising out of any treaty, agreement, coven a nt , engagement or sanad or any similar instrument which was executed before the commencement of the Constitution.

(2) Appellate Jurisdiction in Civil Cases: An appeal to the Supreme Court lies from any judgement, decree or final orders of a High court or, a certificate from a high court concerned that the case involves a substantial question as to the interpretation of the Constitution.

(3) Jurisdiction in criminal Cases: In criminal cases an appeal lies to the Suprema Court if the High Court
(i) has given any decree or final order inthe case;
(li) has withdrawn for trial before it self any case from any court subordinate to its authority a nd ha s in s uch trial sentenced the accused to death; or (iii) certifies that the case is a fit one forappeal to the Supreme Court.

(4) Advisory Jurisdiction: The President may refer to the Supreme Court any question of law or fa ct of s ufficient importance for its opinion. The President may also refer to the court disputes arising out of any provision of treaty, agreement, co.-ensnt, engagement or sanad, etc. The opinion 80 expressed is not binding on the President.

(5) Enforcement of Fundamental Rights: The Supreme Court has been armed with powers to issue directions or orders or writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandam us, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari for the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights conferred by the Constitution.

6) Additional Jurisdiction: Article 138 of the Constitution provides for enlargement of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court by Parliament with reference to any matter contained in the Union List. It has also jurisdiction on any such matter as the Government ofIndia and the Government of any State may, by agreement, confer. But the Parliament has to give effect to this agreement by passing a law.
(7) Power to Review: The Supreme Court has power to review sny judgement or order made by it, subject to any law passed by the Parliament in this regard.
(8) Supplementary Powers: Parliament may by law confer such supplemental powers on the Supreme Court ss may appear to be necessarY and desirable for the due discharge of its functions.

Guardian of the Constitution:It is clearfrom the powers and functions of the SupremeCourt that it is the ultimate interpreter of theConstitution and, as such, its guardian. Theauthority of the Court is further re-inforced bythe provision that "the law declared by theSupreme Court shall be binding on all courtswithin the territory of India" (Art. 141).Further, in the exercise of its jurisdiction, thecourt is authorized to pass appropriate decreesor orders in the interests of complete justice inany case before it.

Independence of Judiciary:

The independence and impartiality of the Supreme Court is the corner-stone of democracy. Justice is said to be blind and this must be so, especially in a democracy which professes all its citizens to be equal before law. Our Constitution ensures the independence of the Judiciary through the following measures:

(1) Though appointed by the President~ ajudge ofthe Supreme Court can only be removed a fter an address of each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than 2/3 of the members present and voting and presented to the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.

(2) The salary and the conditions of service of a judge of the Supreme Court cannot be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.

(3) After retirement, a judge of the Supreme Court cannot plead or act in any other Court or before any authority within the territory ofIndia.

(4) The salaries. etc., of the judges and administrative expenses of the Supreme Court are chargeable on the Consolidated Fund of India and are, therefore, not votable.

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