The Supreme Court/Apex Court has been vested with several jurisdictional powers granted to it by the Constitution of India.
Original Jurisdiction: Article 131
According to the provisions of Article 131, the Supreme Court possesses exclusive original jurisdiction in case any dispute arises between:
- The Government of India and any State or States
- The Government of India and any State or States, which are on one side and one or more than one States on the other side
- Between two or more States
There are however certain issues which do not fall within the ambit of Article 131:
- Matters which are referred to the finance commission as mentioned under Article 280.
- In relation to the disputes arising between the States with respect to the use and distribution of water of an inter- state river as per Article 262. In this case, the Parliament can exclude the jurisdiction of the Apex Court.
- All the disputes relating to the readjustment of costs and expenses between the Union and the States (Article 290) may be settled by an arbitrator who is appointed by the Chief Justice of India.
- Article 131 does not cover any dispute which arises out of treaties, agreements, engagements or covenants etc. having been entered into before the commencement of the constitution, continues after the commencement.
Review Jurisdiction: Article 137
The Supreme Court has the power to review any judgment or any order. It is however subject to the provisions mentioned under Article 145. This mechanism for a review of the judgment has been provided under Order 11 of the Supreme Court Rules. Rule 1 of the same provides that in criminal cases, application for a review is not entertained except on grounds of errors which are apparent on the face of record and in civil cases, except on the grounds that have been mentioned under Order 47, Rule 1, Civil Procedure Code. It is to be noted that a review does not equal the original hearing of the case in any way and the original judgment is not reconsidered unless there has been a grave error in it.
Writ Jurisdiction: Article 32 and Article 139
As per article 139, the Parliament of India can widen the jurisdictional power of the Apex Court and empower it to release orders or writs for any purpose or matter other than the ones that have been mentioned under Article 32.
Article 32 provides the right to constitutional remedies. It provides the Court with the power to issue orders and writs (mandamus, habeus corpus, certiorari, prohibition and quo warranto). In case an individual’s fundamental right is violated, they can move the court for its enforcement. Article 32 places the Apex Court under the Constitutional duty to grant relief in situations where one or more fundamental right(s) are breached.
Appellate Jurisdiction: Article 132-134A
Article 132 is directly related to appeals which involve the analysis of the Constitution in a High Court. According to Article 32, an appeal can lie before the Apex Court from a judgment or a decree or an order by the High Court if it is ascertained by the High Court that the case in question related to a consequential question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution of India.
Article 133, in cases of civil matters, provides a right to appeal to the Supreme Court. It mentions that an appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court of India from a civil proceeding before any High Court of India in the following cases:
- If the High Court is of the opinion that the question of law of the case in question has to be decided by the Supreme Court of India.
- The appeal arises from an order, a decree or a judgment
- The case in question involves a significant question of law which is of general importance.
Article 134 deals with the appeals that lie to the Apex Court in a criminal proceeding of a High Court against an order, a decree or a judgment. It happens in the following situations:
- The High Court deems the case in question fit for appeal before the Supreme Court.
- If the High Court has sentenced an individual to death by reversing an order of acquittal of the accused on an appeal.
Article 134A was added by the 44TH Amendment for regulating the situations under which an appeal can be lied to, before the Supreme Court of India. The main purpose of this article is to avert delaying of filing of an appeal to the Apex Court.
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