Judiciary – By Isha
Our democracy, our Fundamental Rights etc, would be meaningless, if there was no judicial system. We have an elaborate battery of laws and judicial courts. The main sources of law in India are the Constitution, Legislations and Case laws. Certain customs which are long standing and are not against any express law, constitute the customary law. Also the government makes a variety of rules, regulations and bye-laws under the authority conferred by the Legislature. This is known as delegated legislation. Judicial decisions of the Superior courts like the Supreme Court and the High Courts constitute the case law.
We have a single integrated system of courts to administer both the union and state laws. This uniformity of judicial structure has been achieved by placing the relevant areas of civil and criminal law in the concurrent list of Constitution of India. We have at the apex the Supreme Court, with a High Court for each State or group of States. Under the High Courts are Subordinate Courts. The whole country is divided into judicial districts. At the village level we have Nyaya Panchayats.
Supreme Court : It consists of the Chief Justice and 31 other judges. The other judges are appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice. For appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court, a person must be a citizen of India, must be, at least, five years a judge of High Court, or an advocate of a High Court for ten years, or he must be in the opinion of the President, a distinguished jurist. The age of his retirement is 65 years.
Independence of Judges: It is sought by the Constitution. Salaries and conditions of service are fixed and they cannot be varied to the disadvantage of the Judge during his tenure of office. As per ruling given in S.R. ommai v Union of India, AIR 1999, the advice of the Chief Justice is binding on the President in the matter of appointment, promotion and transfer of judges. The salary of Chief Justice is Rs.2,80,000 per month and of other judges Rs.2,50,00/ per month.
Removal of Judges: It requires a very tough procedure provided under Article 124(4). The only ground on which a judge of the Supreme court or High Court can be removed is proved misbehaviour or incapacity. A judge can only be removed by an order of the President passed after an address in each House of Parliament. Such address must be supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-third of members present and voting. It must be presented to the President in the same Session. In the judicial history of India no single judge has been impeached so far. Justice Ramaswamy of Supreme Court in Congress regime in 1990’s was escaped from such process.
Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court: The jurisdiction of Supreme Court is divided into three categories:
Under its Original Jurisdiction, the Supreme Court is empowered to adjudicate disputes between the Centre and State and also between the States and also the enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
It’s appellate jurisdiction relates to Constitutional, Civil, Criminal and other matters.
Under the Advisory Jurisdiction ( Article 143), the President can refer any question of law of fact of public importance to the Supreme Court for its advisory opinion theron.
Supreme Court is the Court of Record under Article 129 of Constitution and it has power to punish for its own contempt.
High courts: High Courts are at the Apex of State’s judicial structure. There are 25 high courts. The National Capital Territory of Delhi has a High Court of its own. Each High Court consists of a Chief Justice of its own. Each High court consists of a Chief Justice and such other judges as the President may from time to time appoint. The judges of the High court are appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the Governor of the State and also the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court. They hold office till the age of 62 years. The High Courts are also the Courts of Record. The salary of Chief Justice of High court is Rs.2,50,000 per month and of other judges is Rs.2,25,000.