Updated: Aug 15, 2020

Author: Vartika Maurya

BALLB/2nd semester

Faculty of law University of Allahabad


Constitution is the foundational law of a country which ordains the fundamental rules and principle on which the government of that country is based. It lays down the framework and principle function of various organs of the government as well as the modalities of interaction between the government and its people. The Constitution of India framed and given to themselves by the people of India was adopted by the Constitution Assembly on 26 Jan 1950. According to the Indian Constitution there is doctrine of ‘separation of power’ under which the three organs of the government – Executive , Legislature and Judiciary are kept seprate , this system is known as ‘checks and balance’. Under the Constitution of India the Supreme Court is the country’s apex judicial and final court of appeal .

Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India (under article 124 to 143 of part-V of chapter 6) can broadly categorised into three-fold:

Original Jurisdiction (article 131):-

Supreme Court exclusive original jurisdiction extends to any disputes between union government and any state or states , or between two states or state and union on one side and one or more states on the other side , in and so far have authority to hear disputes involves any question of law or of fact on which a legal right depends. (Example of such S.R. Bommai VS Union of India [1994]2 SCR 644: AIR 1994 SC 1918: (1994)3 SCC1) . In addition to this Article 32 part III of the constitution gives an extensive original jurisdiction to the supreme court for the enforcement of fundamental rights , empowered to issue directions or writs.

Writs are -:

Habeas Corpus literally mean ‘to have a body’ ,may be addressed to an official person who has another person in his custody. Writ calls upon the person who has detained another to produce the latter before the court , in order to let the court know on what ground he has been detained and to set free if there is no reasonable legal justification for the imprisonment.

Mandamus literally means a command . Writ commands the person to whom the work to perform some public legal duty which he refused to perform and the performance of which can not be enforced by any adequate legal remedy. Mandamus can’t be granted against the president or the governor of the state for the performance of their duty.

Prohibition issued by apex Court to an inferior court forbidding that authority to continue proceeding therein in excess if its jurisdiction or to usurp a jurisdiction with which it is not legally vested. Granted against both administrative and judicial authority.

Quo Warranto is a proceeding whereby the Court enquires into the legally of the claim which a party asserts to a public office , and to oust him from its enjoyment if the claim is not well founded.

Certiorari issued by the apex court to quash order or decision of the lower Court or Tribunal.

Supreme Court has been conferred with power to direct transfer of any civil or criminal case from one High court to other High court or from subordinate court to another High court .And also have the authority to overtake any case of public importance and dispose of all such cases itself (under The Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996).

Appellate Jurisdiction: -

The Supreme court has a very wide appellate jurisdiction all over Courts and tribunals in territory of India. Under the article 132(1) , 133(1)and 134 of the Indian Constitution Supreme Court can exercise or invoke power of the appellate jurisdiction against the High Court in respect of any judgement , decree or final order in any matter regarding to civil or criminal interest as well as substantial question of law as to interpretation of Constitution , in short constitutional matters . Under article 133 appeals lie to the Supreme Court in civil cases (a) if the value of dispute is not less than twenty thousand rupees (b) if the concerned High court certifies that the particular case is suitable for appeal (c) the case is of public importance and thinks that the case involves substantial question of law such case must be decided by Supreme Court . According to article 134 appeal lie to the Supreme Court in criminal cases (a) If the case has appeal reversed an order of acquittal of an accused person and sentenced him to death or imprisonment for not less than 10 years (b) if the case has withdrawn for trial before itself any case from any court subordinate to its authority and has in such trail convicted the accused and sentenced him death or imprisonment of not less than 10 years (c) If the concerned High court certified that the case suitable for appeal to Supreme court . These are the conditions for appeal in Supreme court . Supreme Court can declared any verdict of High court true or can reverse the verdict and can start a fresh trial for that particular case.

The Parliament is authorise to confer Supreme Court any further power to entertain and dispose appeals from any verdict , final order in a criminal proceeding of High court . Parliament can only add to jurisdiction of Supreme Court but cannot curtail or retrench the power.

Under article 136 of the Indian Constitution Supreme Court have the power to grant special leave to appeal from any verdict, decree and sentence in any case passed by any court in India .

Advisory Jurisdiction: –

The Supreme Court has special advisory jurisdiction in matters which may referred to it by President is conferred by article 143 of Indian Constitution. If at any time it appears to the President that a question of law has arisen , is of great public importance or international matters that it is expedient to obtain the advice of Supreme Court . The President is free whether to follow or not to follow the advice of the Supreme Court at the same time Supreme Court is not bound to give advice to president in matters which they think inappropriate.

Article 144 states that all authorities whether civil or judicial in India shall act in aid of supreme court.

Also article 129 and 142 of the Indian Constitution states that Supreme Court shall be a court of record and also vested with power to punish for the contempt of court. Under article 141 the law declared by Supreme Court is binding on all the courts in India .

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