Supreme Court of India

Supreme Court of India

Supreme Court of India

Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court of India (IAST: Bhārat Kā Sarvochch Nyāyālaya भारत का सर्वोच्च न्यायालय) is the supreme judicial authority and the highest court of the Republic of India. It is the final court of appeal for all civil and criminal cases in India. It also has the power of judicial review. The Supreme Court, which consists of the Chief Justice of India and a maximum of fellow 33 judges, has extensive powers in the form of original, appellate, and advisory jurisdictions.

As the apex constitutional court, it takes up appeals primarily against verdicts of the High Courts of various states and tribunals. As an advisory court, it hears matters which are referred by the President of India. Under judicial review, the court invalidates both normal laws as well as constitutional amendments that violate the Basic structure doctrine. It is required to safeguard the fundamental rights of citizens and settles legal disputes among the central government and various state governments.

Its decisions are binding on other Indian courts as well as the union and state governments. As per the Article 142 of the Constitution, the court is conferred with the inherent jurisdiction to pass any order deemed necessary in the interest of complete justice which becomes binding on the President to enforce. The Supreme Court replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the highest court of appeal since 28 January 1950, two days after India was declared a republic.

Empowered by the Indian Constitution with expansive authority to initiate actions and wield appellate jurisdiction over all courts within the nation along with the pivotal ability to review constitutional amendments, underscoring its significant role in the legal landscape of the country, the Supreme Court of India is widely acknowledged as one of the most powerful supreme courts in the world.


In 1861, the Indian High Courts Act 1861 was enacted to create high courts for various provinces and abolish Supreme Courts at Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay and also the sadar adalats in presidency towns in their respective regions. These new high courts had the distinction of being the highest courts for all cases till the creation of the Federal Court of India under the Government of India Act 1935. The Federal Court had the jurisdiction to solve disputes between provinces and federal states and hear appeals against judgment of the high courts. The first CJI of India was H. J. Kania.

The Supreme Court of India came into existence on 28 January 1950. It replaced both the Federal Court of India and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which were then at the apex of the Indian court system. The first proceedings and inauguration, however, took place on 28 January 1950 at 9:45 am, when the judges took their seats; which is thus regarded as the official date of establishment.

The Supreme Court initially had its seat at the 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 was H. J. Kania. In 1958, the Supreme Court moved to its present premises. Originally, the Constitution of India envisaged a supreme court with a chief justice and seven judges; leaving it to Parliament to increase this number. In its formative years, the Supreme Court met from 10 to 12 in the morning and then from 2 to 4 in the afternoon for 28 days per month.

The emblem of the Supreme Court represents the Lion capital of Ashoka at Sarnath, with a topmost wheel featuring 32 spokes.

Jurisdiction and Powers of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of India was constituted as per Chapter IV of Part V of the Constitution of India. The fourth Chapter of the Indian Constitution is " The Union Judiciary". Under this Chapter, the Supreme Court of India is vested with all Jurisdiction.

  • As per Article 124, The Supreme Court of India had been Constituted and Established.
  • As per Article 129, the Supreme Court is to be the Court of Record.
  • As per Article 131, the Original Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is authorized.
  • As per Articles 132, 133 and 134, Appellate Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is authorized.
  • Under Article 135, the Federal Court's Power is given to the Supreme Court.
  • Article 136 deals with the Special leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court.
  • Article 137 explains the Review Power of the Supreme Court.
  • Article 138 deals with the Enlargement of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
  • Article 139 deals with the Conferment on the Supreme Court of powers to issue certain writs.
  • Article 140 gives Ancillary powers to the Supreme Court.
  • Article 141 of the Constitution gives the Law making power of the Supreme Court.

The law declared by the Supreme Court is binding on all courts in the country. The building is shaped to symbolize scales of justice with its center-beam being the Central Wing of the building, consisting of 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, consisting of rooms, 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.

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. It has a 27.6 m (90 ft 7 in) high dome and a spacious colonnaded verandah. 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.


Size of the court

Initially, the Constitution of India provided for a Supreme Court with a chief justice and 7 judges. In the early years, a full bench of the Supreme Court sat together to hear the cases presented before them. As the work of the Court increased and cases began to accumulate, Parliament increased the

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