Supreme Court and Its Organization
nlike the American Constitution, the Indian Constitution has established an integrated judicial system with the Supreme Court at the top and the high courts below it. Under a high court (and below the state level), there is a hierarchy of subordinate courts, that is, district courts and other lower courts.This single system of courts, adopted from the Government of India Act of 1935, enforces both Central laws as well as the state laws. In USA, on the other hand, the federal laws are enforced by the federal judiciary and the state laws are enforced by the state judiciary. There is thus a double system of courts in USA—one for the centre and the other for the states. To sum up, India, although a federal country like the USA, has a unified judiciary and one system of fundamental law and justice.
The Supreme Court of India was inaugurated on January 28, 1950. It succeeded the Federal Court of India, established under the Government of India Act of 1935. However, the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is greater than that of its prodecessor. This is because, the Supreme Court has replaced the British Privy Council as the highest court of appeal.
Articles 124 to 147 in Part V of the Constitution deal with the organisation, independence, jurisdiction, powers, procedures and so on of the Supreme Court. The Parliament is also authorised to regulate them.
Organisation of Supreme Court
At present, the Supreme Court consists of thirty-one judges (one chief justice and thirty other judges). In February 2009, the centre notified an increase in the number of Supreme Court judges from twenty-six to thirty-one, including the Chief Justice of India. This followed the enactment of the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act, 2008. Originally, the strength of the Supreme Court was fixed at eight (one chief justice and seven other judges). The Parliament has increased this number of other judges progressively to ten in 1956, to thirteen in 1960, to seventeen in 1977 and to twenty-five in 1986.
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