Powers and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India

Powers and jurisdiction of the Apex Court of India (Supreme court)

Introduction :

In order to maintain the supremacy of constitution, there must be an independent and impartial authority to decide disputes between units of federation. The Supreme Court under our constitution is such arbitrator. It is the Apex Court , the final interpreter and guardian of constitution, which keep the democratic structure intact , by preventing the arbitrary use of governmental authority and safeguarding the rights of citizens.

Powers and jurisdiction of the supreme court :

Court of record :

Article 129 states that the Supreme Court shall be court of record and shall have the powers of such a court .Court of record also states that it can punish for its own contempt.[Hira lal vs Date of U.P ].

Original, Appellate & Advisory jurisdiction

The supreme court is conferred with original, appellate & Advisory jurisdiction.

Original jurisdiction :

It means the power to hear and determine a dispute in the first instance. The Supreme Court has been given exclusive original jurisdiction which extends to disputes a) between the government of India and one or more states. B) between the government of India and one or more states . C) between two or more states.

Appellate jurisdiction :

Article 132 states that ,An appeal will lie to the supreme court from any judgement, decree, order of a high court in the territory of India, whether in civil criminal or other matters , if the high court declares that under article 134(A) the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the constitution

Incase of a civil matter “An appeal lies to the supreme court from any judgement, decree, order final order of a high court if the high court certifies under article 134A that is a substantial question of law of general importance is involved and in the opinion of the high court the matter needs to be decided by the supreme court article 133.”

• In the criminal cases, an appeal to the supreme court shall lie from any judgement, decree or final order of a High court if the High Court a) has reversed on appeal an order of acquittal of an accused person and sentenced him to death , or has b) has withdrawn for trial before itself any case from any subordinate court to its authority and has in such trial. Convicted the accused person and sentenced him to death and c) in some other cases [Article 134(1)] (Ram kumar vs state M.P A.I.R 1975)

Appeals by special leave petition :

Article 136 , provides the supreme court at its discretion, may grant special leave to appeal from “any judgement, decree , determination , sentence or order , in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or tribunal in the territory of India .This is called ‘special leave petition”. In the Appellate power under article 136 is not to be confused with ordinary appellate power exercised by appellate courts or tribunals. (Ramakant Rai vs Madan Rai )

Review jurisdiction:

Article 137 provides for the supreme court having the power to review its own judgement and orders. However , this is subject to any laws passed by the parliament and any rules made by the Apex court under article 145.

Advisory jurisdiction :

article 143 confers upon the supreme court advisory jurisdiction. The president may seek the opinion of the court on any question of law or fact of public importance, on which he thinks it is expedient to obtain such an opinion.

Conclusion :

Apart from these , the supreme court under article 138, shall have such further jurisdiction and powers with respect to any of the matters in the union list as parliament may by law confer.

Author: Harshita Swami,
Guwahati University BALLB9th sem

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