Sanctioned strength= 31(30+1) Actual present strength= 28(27+1)
CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA
CURRENTLY J. S. Khehar
This article is part of a series on
JUDICIARY OF INDIA
Administration Ministry of Justice Department of Legal Affairs
Legislative Department Department of Justice Law Commission of
Civil courts Supreme Court of
Criminal courts Supreme Court of
* v * t * e
The SUPREME COURT OF INDIA is the highest judicial forum and final
court of appeal under the
Constitution of India
As the final court of appeal of the country, it takes up appeals
primarily against verdicts of the High Courts of various states of the
Union and other courts and tribunals. It safeguards fundamental rights
of citizens and settles disputes between various governments in the
country. As an advisory court, it hears matters which may specifically
be referred to it under the Constitution by the President of
* 1 History
* 2 Court building and architecture
* 2.1 Mother and Child Sculpture * 2.2 Seal
* 3 Constitution of the court
* 3.1 Registry * 3.2 Supreme Court advocates
* 4 Composition
* 4.1 Size of the court * 4.2 Eligibility * 4.3 Court demographics
* 5 Judicial independence
* 5.1 Appointments and the Collegium * 5.2 Tenure * 5.3 Salary * 5.4 Removal * 5.5 Post-retirement * 5.6 Review Petition * 5.7 Powers to punish for contempt
* 6 Rules * 7 Reporting and citation * 8 Facilities on the campus
* 9 Landmark judgments
* 9.1 Land reform * 9.2 Emergency (1975-1977) * 9.3 Post-1980: an assertive court
* 9.4 Recent important cases
* 9.4.1 2G spectrum scam * 9.4.2 Black money * 9.4.3 Minority reservations * 9.4.4 Online/Postal Ballot For Indians Citizens Living Abroad (NRIs) * 9.4.5 Recognition of transgender as \'third gender\' in law
* 9.5 Relief to over 35,000 public servants
* 10 Criticism
* 10.1 Corruption and misconduct of judges * 10.2 Pendency of cases
* 11 See also * 12 References * 13 External links
In 1861 the
Indian High Courts Act 1861 was enacted to create High
Courts for various provinces and abolished Supreme Courts at Calcutta,
Madras and Bombay and also the Sadar Adalats in Presidency towns which
had acted as the highest court in their respective regions. These new
High Courts had the distinction of being the highest Courts for all
cases till the creation of
Federal Court of India under the Government
The Supreme Court of
Supreme Court initially had its seat at
Chamber of Princes in the
Parliament building where the previous
Federal Court of India sat from
1937 to 1950. The first
Chief Justice of India
COURT BUILDING AND ARCHITECTURE
Central Wing of the Court where the Chief Justice's courtroom is located
The building is shaped to symbolize scales of justice with its centre-beam being the Central Wing of the building comprising the Chief Justice’s court, the largest of the courtrooms, with two court halls on either side. The Right Wing of the structure has the bar - room, the offices of the Attorney General of India and other law officers and the library of the court. The Left Wing has the offices of the court. In all, there are 15 courtrooms in the various wings of the building. Left side of the Supreme Court building
The foundation stone of the supreme court's building was laid on 29 October 1954 by Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India. The main block of the building has been built on a triangular plot of 17 acres and has been designed in an Indo-British style by the chief architect Ganesh Bhikaji Deolalikar, the first Indian to head the Central Public Works Department. The Court moved into the building in 1958. In 1979, two new wings - the East Wing and the West Wing - were added to the complex. 1994 saw the last extension.
MOTHER AND CHILD SCULPTURE
On 20 February 1980, a black bronze sculpture of 210-centimeter
height was installed on the lawn of the Supreme Court. It portrays
The design of the Court's seal is reproduced from the wheel that
appears on the abacus of the Sarnath Lion capital of Asoka with 24
spokes. The inscription in
CONSTITUTION OF THE COURT
Supreme Court building with the sculpture in the foreground
The registry of the Supreme Court is headed by the Secretary-General who is assisted by 8 registrars, several additional and deputy registrars, etc., with 1770 employees in all (221 gazetted officers, 805 non-gazetted and 744 Class IV employees) Article 146 of the Constitution deals with the appointments of officers and servants of the Supreme Court registry.
SUPREME COURT ADVOCATES
Main article: Advocates-on-Record
Supreme Court Rules, 2013 entitle only those advocates who are registered with the supreme court, called 'Advocates-on-Record' to appear, act and plead for a party in the court. Those advocates who are designated as \'Senior Advocates\' by the Supreme Court or any of the High Courts can appear for clients along with an Advocate-on-Record. Any other advocate can appear for a party along with or under instructions from an Advocate-on-Record.
SIZE OF THE COURT
As originally enacted, the
Constitution of India
A citizen of
* a judge of one high court or more (continuously), for at least five years, or * an advocate there, for at least ten years, or * a distinguished jurist , in the opinion of the president,
is eligible to be recommended for appointment, a judge of the supreme court.
I am proud to be an Indian.
In practice, judges of the supreme court have been selected so far, mostly from amongst judges of the high courts. Barely six - Justices S. M. Sikri , S. Chandra Roy , Kuldip Singh , Santosh Hegde , R. F. Nariman , U. U. Lalit and L. Nageshwara Rao have been appointed to the supreme court directly from the bar (i.e. who were practising advocates).
The supreme court saw its first woman judge when Justice M. Fathima
Beevi was sworn into office in 1989. The sixth and the most recent
woman judge in the court is Justice R. Banumathi. In 1968, Justice
Mohammad Hidayatullah became the first
The Constitution seeks to ensure the independence of Supreme Court Judges in various ways.
APPOINTMENTS AND THE COLLEGIUM
As per the Constitution, as held by the court in the Three Judges'
Cases - (1982, 1993, 1998), a judge is appointed to the Supreme Court
by the President of
Judges used to be appointed by the President on the advice of the Union Cabinet . After 1993 (the Second Judges' Case), no minister, or even the executive collectively, can suggest any names to the President, who ultimately decides on appointing them from a list of names recommended only by the collegium of the judiciary. Simultaneously, as held in that judgment, the executive was given the power to reject a recommended name. However, according to some, the executive has not been diligent in using this power to reject the names of bad candidates recommended by the judiciary.
The collegium system has come under a fair amount of criticism. In 2015, the Parliament passed a law to replace the collegium with a National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). This was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, in the Fourth Judges' Case, as the new system would undermine the independence of the judiciary. Putting the old system of the collegium back, the court invited suggestions, even from the general public, on how to improve the collegium system, broadly along the lines of - setting up an eligibility criteria for appointments, a permanent secretariat to help the collegium sift through material on potential candidates, infusing more transparency into the selection process, grievance redressal and any other suggestion not in these four categories, like transfer of judges. This resulted in the court asking the government and the collegium to finalize the Memorandum of Procedure incorporating the above.
Once, in 2009, the recommendation for the appointment of a judge of a high court made by the collegium of that court, had come to be challenged in the supreme court. The court held that who could become a judge was a matter of fact, and any person had a right to question it. But who should become a judge was a matter of opinion and could not be questioned. As long as an effective consultation took place within a collegium in arriving at that opinion, the content or material placed before it to form the opinion could not be called for scrutiny in court.
Supreme Court judges retire at the age of 65. However, there have been suggestions, including from the judges of the Supreme Court of India, to provide for a fixed term for the judges there including the Chief Justice of India.
Article 125 of the Indian Constitution leaves it to the Indian Parliament to determine the salary, other allowances, leave of absence, pension, etc. of the Supreme Court judges. However, the Parliament cannot alter any of these privileges and rights to the judge's disadvantage after his/her appointment. A judge gets ₹90,000 (US$1,400) per month, the Chief Justice earns an additional ₹10,000 (US$160).
A judge of the Supreme Court can be removed under the Constitution
only on grounds of proven MISCONDUCT or INCAPACITY and by an order of
the President of India, after a notice signed by at least 100 members
A Person who has retired as a Judge of the Supreme Court is debarred from practicing in any court of law or before any other authority in India.
Further information: Review petition
Article 137 of the
Constitution of India
Under Order XL of the Supreme Court Rules, that have been framed under its powers under Article 145 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court may review its judgment or order but no application for review is to be entertained in a civil proceeding except on the grounds mentioned in Order XLVII, Rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
POWERS TO PUNISH FOR CONTEMPT
Under Articles 129 and 142 of the Constitution the Supreme Court has
been vested with power to punish anyone for contempt of any court in
Constitution of India
In 2014, Supreme Court notified the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 replacing the 1966 Rules effective from 19 August 2014.
REPORTING AND CITATION
Supreme Court Reports is the official journal of Reportable Supreme
Court Decisions. It is published under the authority of the Supreme
FACILITIES ON THE CAMPUS
Legal-aid , court-fee vendors, first-aid post, dental clinic, physiotherapy unit and pathology lab; rail-reservation counter, canteen, post office and a branch and 3 ATMs of UCO Bank, Supreme Court Museum can be availed by litigants and visitors.
After some of the courts overturned state laws for redistributing land from zamindar (landlord) estates on the ground that the laws violated the zamindars' fundamental rights, the Parliament passed the 1st amendment to the Constitution in 1951, followed by the 4th amendment in 1955, to uphold its authority to redistribute land. The Supreme Court countered these amendments in 1967 when it ruled in Golaknath v. State of Punjab that the Parliament did not have the power to abrogate fundamental rights, including the provisions on private property. The 25th amendment to the Constitution in 1971 curtailed the right of a citizen to property as a fundamental right and gave authority to the government to infringe private property, which led to a furor amongst the zamindars.
The independence of judiciary was severely curtailed during the Indian Emergency (1975-1977) of Indira Gandhi. The constitutional rights of imprisoned persons were restricted under Preventive detention laws passed by the parliament. In the case of Shiva Kant Shukla Additional District Magistrate of Jabalpur v. Shiv Kant Shukla, popularly known as the Habeas Corpus case, a bench of five seniormost judges of Supreme court ruled in favour of state's right for unrestricted powers of detention during the emergency. Justices A.N. Ray , P. N. Bhagwati , Y. V. Chandrachud , and M.H. Beg, stated in the majority decision: (under the declaration of emergency) no person has any locus to move any writ petition under Art. 226 before a High Court for habeas corpus or any other writ or order or direction to challenge the legality of an order of detention.
The only dissenting opinion was from Justice H. R. Khanna , who stated: detention without trial is an anathema to all those who love personal liberty... A dissent is an appeal to the brooding spirit of the law, to the intelligence of a future day, when a later decision may possibly correct the error into which the dissenting Judge believes the court to have been betrayed.
It is believed that before delivering his dissenting opinion, Justice
Khanna had mentioned to his sister: "I have prepared my judgment,
which is going to cost me the Chief Justice-ship of India." In
January 1977, Justice Khanna was superseded despite being the most
senior judge at the time and thereby Government broke the convention
of appointing only the senior most judge to the position of Chief
Justice of India. Justice Khanna remains a legendary figure among the
legal fraternity in
The New York Times, wrote of this opinion: "The submission of an independent judiciary to absolutist government is virtually the last step in the destruction of a democratic society; and the Indian Supreme Court's decision appears close to utter surrender."
During the emergency period, the government also passed the 39th amendment, which sought to limit judicial review for the election of the Prime Minister; only a body constituted by Parliament could review this election. Subsequently, the parliament, with most opposition members in jail during the emergency, passed the 42nd Amendment which prevented any court from reviewing any amendment to the constitution with the exception of procedural issues concerning ratification. A few years after the emergency, however, the Supreme court rejected the absoluteness of the 42nd amendment and reaffirmed its power of judicial review in the Minerva Mills case (1980).
POST-1980: AN ASSERTIVE COURT
See also: Judicial Activism In India
After Indira Gandhi lost elections in 1977, the new government of Morarji Desai, and especially law minister Shanti Bhushan (who had earlier argued for the detenues in the Habeas Corpus case), introduced a number of amendments making it more difficult to declare and sustain an emergency, and reinstated much of the power to the Supreme Court. It is said that the Basic Structure doctrine, created in Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala , was strengthened in Indira Gandhi's case and set in stone in .
The Supreme Court's creative and expansive interpretations of Article 21 (Life and Personal Liberty), primarily after the Emergency period, have given rise to a new jurisprudence of public interest litigation that has vigorously promoted many important economic and social rights (constitutionally protected but not enforceable) including, but not restricted to, the rights to free education, livelihood, a clean environment, food and many others. Civil and political rights (traditionally protected in the Fundamental Rights chapter of the Indian Constitution) have also been expanded and more fiercely protected. These new interpretations have opened the avenue for litigation on a number of important issues.
RECENT IMPORTANT CASES
Among the important pronouncements of the Supreme Court post 2000 is the Coelho case . A unanimous Bench of 9 judges reaffirmed the basic structure doctrine. It held that a constitutional amendment which entails violation of any fundamental rights which the Court regards as forming part of the basic structure of the Constitution, then the same can be struck down depending upon its impact and consequences. The judgment clearly imposes further limitations on the constituent power of Parliament with respect to the principles underlying certain fundamental rights. The judgment in Coelho has in effect restored the decision in Golak Nath regarding non-amendability of the Constitution on account of infraction of fundamental rights, contrary to the judgment in the Kesavananda Bharati case.
Another important decision was of the five-judge Bench in Ashoka
Kumara Thakur v. Union of India; where the constitutional validity of
Central Educational Institutions (Reservations in Admissions) Act,
2006 was upheld, subject to the "creamy layer" criteria. Importantly,
the Court refused to follow the 'strict scrutiny ' standards of review
followed by the United States Supreme Court. At the same time, the
Court has applied the strict scrutiny standards in Anuj Garg v. Hotel
2G Spectrum Scam
Further information: 2G spectrum scam
The Supreme Court declared allotment of spectrum as "unconstitutional and arbitrary" and quashed all the 122 licenses issued in 2008 during tenure of A. Raja (then minister for communications however, as per this proposal there is not going to be any increase in the number of working days or working hours of any of the judges and it only meant that different judges would be going on vacation during different periods of the year as per their choice; but, the Bar Council of India rejected this proposal mainly because it would have inconvenienced the advocates who would have to work throughout the year.
* Government of
* National Judicial Appointments Commission * Attorney General of India * List of Chief Justices of India * List of former justices of the Supreme Court of India * List of sitting judges of the Supreme Court of India * Solicitor General of India
* ^ "Justice Khehar sworn in as 44th Chief Justice of India". The
New Indian Express . India. 4 January 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
* ^ A B C D "History of Supreme Court of India" (PDF). Supreme
Court of India. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
* ^ A B C D , Supreme Court of India
* ^ "Constitution of Supreme Court of India". Supreme Court of
India. Missing or empty url= (help ); access-date= requires url=
* ^ name="History PDF"
* ^ "Constitution". Supreme Court of India. 28 January 1950.
Missing or empty url= (help ); access-date= requires url= (help )
* ^ A B "Facilities at Supreme Court of India" (PDF). Supreme Court
of India. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
* ^ "Constitution of Supreme Court". Supreme Court of India.
Retrieved 31 March 2013.
* ^ "Organisational Chart of the Registry of the Supreme Court of
India" (PDF). Supreme Court of India. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
* ^ A B "Supreme Court Rules, 2013" (PDF). sci.nic.in. Supreme
Court of India. 27 May 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22
July 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
* ^ Chowdhury, Rishad Ahmed. "Missing the Wood for the Trees: The
Unseen Crisis in the Supreme Court" (PDF). NUJS Law Review
(July–September). 2012 (3/4): 358. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
* ^ "Supreme Court of
* ^ A B Hegde, Sanjay (19 October 2015). "Judging the Judge-Maker".
The Hindu. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
* ^ Venkatesan, V. "Interview with Justice J.S. Verma, former Chief
Wikimedia Commons has media related to