Chapters :
  • The Judges of Supreme Court
  • Jurisdiction and Powers of Supreme Court
  • Other Powers of Supreme Court

  • Judicial Review

LIBERAL INTELLECTUAL PRINCIPLES – 14

The Judges of Supreme Court
Appointment: The President appoints the judges of the Supreme Court (SC) including the Chief Justice of India (CJI). He appoints the judges of SC after consultation with a collegium composed of the CJI and four senior most judges of SC. By convention, the senior most judge of the SC is appointed as the CJI. An oath or affirmation to the judges of SC and the CJI is administered by the President. Qualifications: To be appointed as a judge of the SC, a person should possess the following qualifications
  1. He must be a citizen of India.
  2. He should have been a judge of a High Court for five years or an advocate of a High Court for ten years or an eminent jurist in the opinion of the President.
Tenure: The constitution does not prescribe a tenure for the judges of SC. However, it provides the following three provisions
  1. A judge of the SC holds office till the attainment of 65 years of age.
  2. He can resign by writing to the President.
  3. He can be removed by the President for incapacity or proved misbehaviour.
Removal of Judges: The CJI and the judges of SC can be impeached from office only on two grounds – incapacity or proved misbehaviour. Procedure for Impeachment:
  1. A motion for the impeachment of a judge of the SC can be moved in either houses of the Parliament. It has to be signed by 100 members in case of LS or 50 members in case of RS.
  2. The Speaker / Chairman may admit or reject the motion.
  3. If the motion is admitted, the Speaker / Chairman has to constitute a three-member committee to investigate into the matter.
  4. The committee is composed of the CJI or a judge of SC, a chief justice of a High Court and an eminent jurist.
  5. If the committee finds that the concerned judge is guilty of misbehaviour or incapable of delivering his duties, the house will take up the motion for consideration.
  6. After the motion is passed in both the houses, an address is presented to the President for the removal.
  7. The President removes the judge by an order.
  • Jurisdiction and Powers of Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of India is provided with a wide range of powers to enable it to function as an independent institution and uphold the law of the land. It is the final interpreter and guardian of the constitution and guarantor of fundamental rights of people. The jurisdiction and powers of the SC are classified into the following categories.
S.No Jurisdiction Powers
1 Original Jurisdiction The SC has the exclusive and original jurisdiction with respect to the disputes between 1.  The centre and one or more states. 2.  The centre and a state or a group of states on one side and a state or a group of states on the other side. 3.  Two or more states.
2 Writ Jurisdiction Article 32 authorises the SC to issue five types of writs such as the habeas corpus, mandamus, certiorari, prohibition and quo warranto. However, this power is not exclusive to the SC as the High Courts can also issue writs under article 226.
3 Appellate Jurisdiction The SC is the highest court of appeal. It enjoys appellate jurisdiction in the following matters 1.  Constitutional matters 2.  Civil matters 3.  Criminal matters 4.  Appeal by special leave
4 Consultative / Advisory Jurisdiction The President can ask for the opinion of SC in two cases 1.  On any question of a law of public importance. 2.  On disputes that arise out of pre-constitutional agreements or treaties or other instruments.
5 A Court of Record The proceedings, judgements and acts of SC are recorded to be used as precedents and produced as pieces of evidence before any court.
6 Judicial Review The SC is endowed with the power of examining the constitutional validity of laws and executive orders of both the Central and the State governments.
Other Powers of Supreme Court:
  1. In the disputes related to the election of President and the Vice President, the SC has the original, exclusive and final authority.
  2. It has the power to review its own judgements.
  3. It has the power of supervising and controlling all other courts and tribunals within the territory of India.
  4. It enquires into the matters of conduct and misbehaviour of the Chairman and members of the Union Public Service Commission and if it finds them guilty, it can recommend the President to remove them from office. Its advice, in this case, is binding on the President.
  5. It can transfer the cases pending before the High Courts to itself and dispose them or it can transfer a case pending before one High Court to another High Court for disposal.
  6. All the courts in the country are bound to obey the orders of SC.
Judicial Review The Supreme Court can examine the laws enacted by the Parliament and the State legislatures for their constitutionality and if it finds them unconstitutional, it can declare them void. This power of the Supreme Court is called as judicial review and it is significant for the following reasons
  1. It protects the fundamental rights of citizens.
  2. It protects the basic principles incorporated in the constitution.
  3. It upholds the supremacy of the constitution.
  4. It maintains the balance between the centre and the states in the federal system of government.
The scope of judicial review in India is narrower than that of what exists in the USA. This is because the principle of ‘due process of law’ is followed in the USA whereas the principle of ‘procedure established by law’ is followed in India. Under the due process of law, the judiciary, while testing the constitutionality of laws, will examine the reasonableness underlying the enactment of the laws. Under the procedure established by law, the judiciary will check whether the legislature has followed the procedures prescribed for the enactment of the laws
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