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The Court And The Government

Snapshots from the history of the Supreme Court of India

The Court And The Government
The Court And The Government
outlookindia.com
2018-01-20T11:09:05+0530

Where Supreme Court expanded central govt powers

  • Interpretation of lists (union, state, concurrent)
  • Reorganising states
  • Centralised planning
  • Power over states (including Emergency)

Inaugural sitting of the Supreme Court on January 28, 1950

The Supreme Court

  • Founded in October 1937 as Federal Court, and on  Republic Day, 1950, as Supreme Court
  • Strength at the time of founding: Chief Justice of India and seven judges
  • Current sanctioned strength: 31
  • Appointments made by CJI and four puisne judges
  • Final court of appeal and constitutional court, top administrator of justice delivery
  • Advocates-on-record chosen through rigorous examination after minimum five years law practice

The Chief Justice of India

  • Constitutional authority; customarily, the seniormost among the SC judges is chosen
  • Administrative head of the Indian judiciary and the Supreme Court
  • First CJI of Independent India: Justice H.J. Kania
  • Current: 45th CJI Justice Dipak Misra

CJI Dipak Misra (left), Justice Chelameswar

Master of the Roster

  • Ållegations arose in the medical institute case
  • Justice Chelameswar marked it to five seniormost judges
  • CJI broke a sitting constitutional bench to form another
  • Fresh constitutional bench that excluded five seniors took over the matter
  • CJI was declared “master of roster” in a background of chaos and heckling
  • PIL to probe alleged bribery dismissed on merits

Kesavanand Bharti

Pre-Emergency Tussles

  • In three cases (bank nationalisation, privy purse, Golak Nath), the Supreme Court scuttled overnight ordinances that diluted fundamental rights
  • The Congress-majority Parliament retorted with constitutional amendment, also barring judicial review of such amendments
  • 13-judge bench heard Kesavanand Bharti back-to-back for 65 days
  • Bare majority decision froze basic structure, upheld fundamental rights

Indira Gandhi and Justice A.N. Ray

  • Indira Gandhi appointed seniormost among dissenting judges in Kesavanand Bharti as next CJI, superseding three senior to him

Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer

  • June 24, 1975: Supreme Court judge V.R. Krishna Iyer upheld election case against Indira Gandhi
  • June 25, 1975: Emergency declared
  • Habeas Corpus case dissenting judge H.R. Khanna superseded by Mirza Hameedullah Beg

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