Supreme Court of India

By Team Legal Helpline India, December 27, 2014

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Supreme Court of India is the apex court of the country and is the final authority of all legal proceedings it is vested with wide powers to supervise the courts, tribunals, quasi-judicial authorities of the country and to render advice to the Government. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court can be broadly divided into three parts:

i) Appellate jurisdiction of Supreme Court of India


ii) Original jurisdiction of Supreme Court of India


iii) Advisory jurisdiction of Supreme Court of India

i) APPELLATE JURISDICTION OF SUPREME COURT OF INDIA:

  • Appeals under Article 132 of the Constitution of India before the Supreme Court of India, provides for an appeal from a judgment, decree or final order of a High Court, whether in civil, criminal or any other proceedings, if the High Court certifies that the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution of India.
  • Appeals before Supreme Court of India under Article 133 of the Constitution of India, provides for an appeal from a judgment, decree or final order of a High Court, from a civil proceedings of a High Court, if the High Court certifies that the case involves a substantial question of law of general importance and in its opinion the said question of law need to be decided by the Supreme Court of India.
  • Appeals under Article 132 of the Constitution of India are filed before the Supreme Court of India. It provides for an appeal from a judgment , final order or sentence in a criminal proceedings of a High Court if (a) it has on appeal reversed an order of acquittal of an accused person and sentenced him to death or (b) has withdrawn for trail before itself, any case from any court subordinate to it and has in such trial convicted the accused and sentenced him to death or (c) it certifies that the case of a fit one for appeal.
  • Appeal by Special Leave Petition (SLP) under Article 136 of the Constitution of India before the Supreme Court of India provides that the Supreme Court of India in its discretion grant special leave to appeal from any judgment, decree, determination, sentence or order in any case of matter passed or made by any Court or tribunal in the territory of India except the Court of tribunal constituted by or under any law relating to armed forces. Special Leave Petition is the appeal filed petition before Supreme Court of India against the orders of any High Court of the country.

Statutory appeals Before Supreme Court of India under various laws:

  • Criminal Appeals: Section 379 of CrPC read with Section 2 of the Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction) Act, 1970 as amended by Supreme Court ((Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction) Amendment Act, 1972 , provides for an appeal to the Supreme Court of India from any judgment, final order or sentence in a criminal proceedings of a High Court , if the High Court (a) has on appeal reversed an order of acquittal of an accused person and sentenced him to death or to imprisonment for life or to imprisonment for a period of not less than ten year; (b) has withdrawn from trial before itself any case from any Court subordinate to its authority and has in such trial convicted the accused person and sentenced him to imprisonment for life or to imprisonment for a period of not less than ten years.
  • Section 130E of the Customs Act, 1962 provides for an appeal from any judgment of the High Court on a reference made under Section 130 , in any case which the High Court certifies to be a fit one for appeal to the Supreme Court of India or any order passed by the Appellate Tribunal relating, amongst other things, to the determination of any question having relation to the rate of custom duty or the value of goods for the purpose of assessment.
  • Section 35L of the Central Excise and Salt Act, 1944: provides for an appeal from any judgment of the High Court delivered on a reference made under Section 35G, in any case which the High Court certifies to be a fit one for appeal to the Supreme Court of India, or any order passed by the Appellate Tribunal relating, amongst other things, to the determination of any question having a relation to the rate of duty of excise or to the value of goods for purpose of assessment.
  • Section 23 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986: provides for an appeal from an order made by the National Commission, entertaining complaints where the value of the goods or services and compensation if any claimed exceeds Rupees One Crore.
  • Section 19(1)(b) of the Contempt of Courts of Act, 1971: provides for an appeal, as of right, from any order or decision of Division Bench of a High Court in exercise of its jurisdiction to punish for contempt.
  • Section 38 of the Advocates Act, 1961: provides for an appeal from an order made by the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar Council of India under Section 36 and 37 of the Advocates Act.
  • Section 116 A of the Representation of People Act, 1951: provides for an appeal on any question, whether of law or fact, from every order passed by a High Court under Section 98 or Section 99 of the said Act.
  • Section 10 of the Special Court (Trial of offenses relating to Transactions in Securities) Act, 1992: provides for an appeal from any judgment, sentence or order not being interlocutory order, of the special court, both on fact and on law.
  • Section 55 of the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969: provides for an appeal from certain orders passed by the Central Government or by the MRTP Commission.
  • Section 18 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997: provides for an appeal against any order not being an interlocutory order, of the Appellate Tribunal, on one or more of the grounds specified in Section 100 of Code of Civil Procedure.
  • Section 15(z) of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992: provides that any person aggrieved by any decision or order of the Securities Appellate Tribunal may file an appeal on any question of law arising out of such order.
  • Section 261 of the Income Tax Act: contemplate an appeal from any judgment of the High Court ( under a reference made under Section 256 against an order made under Section 254 before 1st October 1998 or an appeal made to the High Court in respect of an order passed under Section 254 on or after that date), in any case which the High Court certifies to be a fit one for appeal.
  • Section 19 of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987: provides for an appeal from any judgment, sentence or order not being an interlocutory order, of a designated court, both on fact and on the law. (Now repealed)
  • Section 53 T of the Competition Act, 2002: provides for an appeal against any decision or order of the Appellate Tribunal.

ii) Original jurisdiction of Supreme Court of India:

  • Writs under Article 32 of the Constitution of India: contemplates filing of writ for enforcement of fundamental rights: Mandamus, Prohibition, Certiorari, Quo Warranto, and Habeas Corpus.
  • Original Suits under Article 131 of the Constitution of India: provides for the exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in any dispute between:

(a) Government of Indian and one or more States or

(2) between Government of India and any state on the other side,

(3) between two or more states, insofar as such disputes involve any question on which the existence or extent of the legal right depends.

  • Transfer of cases under Article 139 A (1) of the Constitution of India: where the cases involving the same or substantially the same questions of law are pending and one or more High Courts or before two or more High Courts, and the Supreme Court is satisfied, on its own motion, or on an application made by the Attorney-General of India or by any party to any such case, that such questions are substantial questions of general importance, the Supreme Court may withdraw the case or cases pending before the High Court or the High Courts and dispose of all the cases itself.
  • Article 139 A (2) of the Constitution of India: provides that the Supreme Court may , if it deems it expedient to do so for the ends of justice, transfer any case, appeal or other proceedings pending before any High Court to any other High Court.
  • Section 25 of the Code of Civil Procedure: (Transfer of Civil Suits, Divorce Petitions etc.)provides that Supreme Court may transfer any suit, appeal or other proceedings from a High Court or other civil court in one State to a High Court or other civil court in any other State.
  • Section 406 of the Code of Criminal Procedure: (Transfer of Criminal Cases, Bail Applications etc.) provides that Supreme Court may transfer any case or appeal from one High Court to another High Court or from a criminal court subordinate to one High Court to another Criminal court of equal or superior jurisdiction, subordinate to another High Court.
  • Election disputes under Article 71 of the Constitution of India: provides that all doubts and disputes relating to election of a President or Vice-President are required to be enquired into and decided by the Supreme Court only.

iii) Advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India:

  • Article 143(1) of the Constitution of India: provides that if at any time it appears to the President of India that a question of law or fact has arisen, or is likely to arise, which is of such a nature and of such public importance that it is expedient to obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court upon it, he may refer the question to that Court, for consideration and the Court may, after such hearing as it thinks fit, report to the President its opinion thereon.
  • Article 317 of the Constitution of India: provides that the Chairman or any other member of a Public Service Commission can be removed from his office by order of the President, on the ground of misbehavior, after the Supreme Court of India on reference being made by the President, has on enquiry reported that he ought, on such ground, to be removed from his office.
  • Section 53K of the Competition Act, 2002: provides for removal and suspension of Chairperson and Members of the Appellate Tribunal in consultation with the Chief Justice of India on any of the grounds specified in clauses (a) to (f) of Sub-section (1) of Section 53 K after an enquiry by a Judge of the Supreme Court.
  • A reference under Section 257 of the Income Tax Act: provides that the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal can, through its President, refer to the Supreme Court, any question of law on which there is a difference of opinion between different High Courts and the question requires being resolved by the Supreme Court.
  • Section 7(2) of the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969: provides that no member can be removed from his office on the ground of abusing his position or acquiring financial or other interest prejudicial to his functioning as a member unless Supreme Court  on a reference being made by the Central Government, has reported that he ought on such ground to be removed.
  • Sub-Section(1) of Section 14 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 confers powers on the President of India to make a reference to the Supreme Court  to make enquiry and report on the question of removal of Chief Information Commissioner or any Information Commissioner on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity.
  • Sub-Section (1) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 confers power on the Governor to make reference to Supreme Court to hold inquiry and report on the question of removal of State Chief Information Commissioner or State Information Commissioner on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity.
  • Review under Article 137 of the Constitution of India: provides that subject to provisions of any law and rules made under Article 145, the Supreme Court has the power to review any judgment pronounced or order made by it. Under Supreme Court Rules, 1966 such petition is to be filed within thirty days from the date of judgment or order and as far as practicable; it is to be circulated, without oral arguments, to be the same Bench of Judges who delivered the judgment or order sought to be reviewed.

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