The Supreme Court of India is the apex judicial body in the country and is responsible for upholding the Constitution and ensuring the rule of law. It is the final court of appeal and has the power to interpret the Constitution and strike down any law that violates its provisions. The composition and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India are defined under Articles 124 to 147 of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court of India consists of a Chief Justice and a maximum of 33 judges, including the Chief Justice. The President of India appoints the judges of the Supreme Court in consultation with other judges of the court and the Chief Justice. The qualifications for appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court are specified in Article 124 of the Constitution. A person must be a citizen of India, must have been a judge of a high court for at least five years or an advocate of a high court for at least ten years or an eminent jurist in the opinion of the President to be eligible for appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court of India has extensive jurisdiction over a wide range of matters, including constitutional, civil, and criminal cases. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is divided into three categories:
- Original jurisdiction: The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over disputes between the Union and state governments, disputes between two or more states, and disputes between the government and one or more states on one side and one or more states on the other.
- Appellate jurisdiction: The Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction over the judgments and orders of the high courts and other courts in the country. The Supreme Court can hear appeals against any judgment, decree or final order of a high court, provided the case involves a substantial question of law of general importance.
- Advisory jurisdiction: The Supreme Court has advisory jurisdiction, which enables the President to seek the court’s opinion on any matter of public importance or legal significance. The court’s opinion is not binding, but it carries great weight and is often cited in subsequent judgments.
Apart from its jurisdiction, the Supreme Court of India also has the power to issue writs, including habeas corpus, mandamus, certiorari, prohibition, and quo warranto, to protect the fundamental rights of citizens.
The Supreme Court of India plays a crucial role in upholding the principles of democracy and ensuring the rule of law in the country. The court’s decisions have far-reaching consequences and impact the lives of millions of people. The Supreme Court has played a significant role in shaping the legal and constitutional framework of the country and has contributed to the development of important legal principles such as the doctrine of basic structure and the principle of judicial review.
The Supreme Court has also been instrumental in protecting the fundamental rights of citizens and ensuring social justice. The court has delivered several landmark judgments, such as the Vishakha case, which laid down guidelines for preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, and the Navtej Singh Johar case, which decriminalized homosexuality and upheld the right to equality.
The Supreme Court of India faces several challenges in fulfilling its role as the guardian of the Constitution and the protector of fundamental rights. One of the significant challenges is the backlog of cases that continue to pile up in the court. The backlog has resulted in long delays in delivering justice and has eroded public confidence in the judiciary.
Another challenge facing the Supreme Court is the growing politicization of judicial appointments. There have been concerns about the lack of transparency in the appointment process, and allegations of nepotism and favoritism have also been raised.
The Supreme Court of India is a vital institution in the country’s democratic framework, and its decisions have far-reaching implications for citizens. The composition and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court are defined under the Constitution, and it plays a crucial role in safeguarding the fundamental rights of citizens and ensuring social justice. However, the court also faces several challenges, such as the backlog of cases and concerns about the politicization of judicial appointments.
Despite these challenges, the Supreme Court of India remains a symbol of hope for millions of citizens who look up to it as the guardian of the Constitution and the protector of their rights. The court’s decisions have strengthened the foundations of Indian democracy and have contributed to the country’s growth and development. It is imperative that the Supreme Court continues to uphold the highest standards of integrity and impartiality and maintains its position as an independent and fearless institution that serves the cause of justice.