The Supreme Court of India


India has a unified judiciary and one system of fundamental law and Justice. The Indian Constitution has established an integrated judicial system with Supreme Court at the top and high courts below it. Under high courts at state level there is hierarchy of subordinate courts i.e. district courts and other lower courts.

Source –

The single system of courts adopted, from Government of India Act, 1935 enforces both central laws as well as the state laws.

  • The Supreme Court of India was inaugurated on January 28,1950.
  • It succeeded the federal court of India.
  • The Supreme Court has replaced the British Privy Council as the highest court of appeal.

Constitutional Framework:

Articles 124 to 147 in Part V of the Constitution deal with organisation, independence, jurisdiction, powers, procedures of the Supreme Court.

Composition of Supreme Court: Article 124

  • Originally, the strength of Supreme Court was fixed at eight (one chief justice and seven other judges).
  • The Parliament has increased this number of other judges progressively to 10 in 1956, to 13 in 1960, to 17 in 1977, to 25 in 1986, to 30 in 2008 and to 33 in 2019.
  • At present the Supreme Court consists of 34 judges (one chief justice and 33 other judges).

    Appointment of judges : Article 124

    The judges of Supreme Court are appointed by the President.


    The Chief Justice is appointed by the President after consultation with such judges of Supreme Court and high courts as he may deems necessary.
    The Other judges are appointed by President after consultation with the Chief Justice and such other judges of Supreme Court and high courts as he deems necessary.
    The consultation with the chief justice is obligatory in the case of appointment of a judge other than chief justice.
    • In Fourth Judges case, 2015, Supreme Court upheld the Collegium system and declared 99th Constitutional Amendment as well as NJAC Act as unconstitutional and void.


    1. He should be a citizen of India
    2. He should have been :
      • a judge of a High Court for 5 years or
      • He should have been an advocate of a High Court or High Courts in succession for 10 years or
      • He should be a distinguished jurist in the opinion of the President.

    No minimum age for appointment as a judge of Supreme Court has been prescribed in the Constitution.

    Oath :

    A person appointed as a judge of Supreme Court has to make and subscribe an oath before the President or some person appointed by him before entering his office.

    Salaries and Allowances: Article 125

    The salaries, allowances, privileges, leave and pension of the judges are determined from time to time by the Parliament.
    In 2018 the salary of chief justice was increased from Rs. lakh to 2.80 lakh per month and of a judge from 90,000 to 2.50 lakh per month. They are also paid allowance and provided with free accommodation and other facilities like medical, car, telephone etc.

    Tenure of judges:

    • He holds the office until he attains the age of 65 years.
    • He can resign from his office by writing to the President.
    • He can be removed by the President on the recommendation of the Parliament.

    Removal of judges:

  • The President can issue the removal order only after an address by Parliament has been presented to him in the same session for such removal.
    The address must be supported by a special majority of each house of Parliament.


    The grounds for removal are two :
    • proved misbehaviour or
    • incapacity.

    Process of Impeachment:

     A judge of Supreme Court can be removed by the way of impeachment only. For this, removal motion signed by 100 members in the case of Lok Sabha or 50 members in the case of Rajya Sabha is to be given to the speaker / chairman.
     He may admit the motion or refuse to admit it. If the motion is admitted the speaker/chairman is to constitute a three member committee consisting of –

    • Chief justice of or a judge of Supreme Court
    • Chief Justice of High Court
    • A distinguished jurist .

     If the committee finds the judge to be guilty of misbehaviour or incapacity, the house can take up the consideration of motion.
     After motion is passed by each house of Parliament by special majority, an address is presented to President for removal of the judge.
     Finally, the President passes an order removing the judge.
    No judge of Supreme Court has been impeached so far.

    Judges of Supreme Court:

    • Acting Chief Justice
    • Ad Hoc judges
    • Retired judge

    Supreme Court Advocates:

    Three categories of advocates are entitled to practice law before the Supreme Court. They are:

    • Senior advocate
    • Advocates- on- record
    • Other advocates

    Seat of Supreme Court: Article 130

    The Constitution declares Delhi as the seat of Supreme Court. It also authorizes the chief justice of India to appoint other place or places as seat of Supreme Court.

    Independence of Supreme Court:

    Following provisions of the Constitution ensures the independence and impartiality of Supreme court-

    1. Mode of appointment
    2. Security of Tenure
    3. Service conditions
    4. Expenses charged on consolidated fund of India
    5. Conduct of judges can-not be discussed
    6. Restriction on practice after retirement
    7. Power to punish for its contempt
    8. Freedom to appoint staff
    9. It's jurisdiction cannot be curtailed
    10. Separation from executive

    Jurisdiction and Powers of Supreme Court -

    The constitution has conferred a very extensive jurisdiction and powers on the Supreme Court. The jurisdiction and powers of Supreme Court can be classified into following:

    • Original jurisdiction (Article 131)
    • Writ jurisdiction (Article 32)
    • Appellate jurisdiction (Article 132-134)
    • Advisory jurisdiction (Article 143)
    • A court of record (Article 129)
    • Power of Judicial Review (Article 13)
    • Constitutional Interpretation (Article 141)
    • Other powers

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