(ARTICLES 214 – 237)
The Constitution of India derives its provisions regarding the High Courts in the states from the Indian High Courts Act, 1861.
HIGH COURT FOR THE STATES
There shall be a High Court for each state.
Article 214 provides a High Court for each state in the Union of India i.e. every state in India can have a High Court of its own. Also, a state cannot have more than one High Court.
However, there are many states which share their High Court with other states/UT. At present there are 25 High Courts in India.
|List of all the High Courts having jurisdiction over more than one state/UT|
|Bombay High Court||Maharashtra, Goa, Daman and Diu (UT), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (UT)|
|Calcutta High Court||West Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands (UT)|
|Guwahati High Court||Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland|
|Kerala High Court||Kerala, Lakshadweep (UT)|
|Madras High Court||Tamil Nadu, Puducherry (UT)|
|Punjab and Haryana High Court||Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh (UT)|
|Jammu and Kashmir High Court||Jammu and Kashmir (UT), Ladakh (UT)|
Thus, 7 High Courts have jurisdiction in more than one state or UT. However, only 3 High Courts have jurisdiction in more than one state.
HIGH COURTS TO BE COURTS OF RECORD
Every High Court shall be a court of record and shall have all the powers of such a court including the power to punish for contempt of itself.
COMPOSITION OF THE HIGH COURTS
Every High Court shall consist of a Chief Justice and such other Judges as the President may from time to time deem it necessary to appoint.
QUALIFICATIONS, APPOINTMENT AND VACANCY IN THE OFFICE OF THE JUDGE OF A HIGH COURT
APPOINTMENTS TO THE OFFICE OF THE JUDGE OF THE HIGH COURT
The proposal for appointment of Judges of High Court must be initiated by the Chief Justice of that High Court.
The Chief Justice of a High Court is appointed by the President of India after consultation with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Governor of the state concerned. In case of a common High Court for two or more states, the Governors of all the concerned states are consulted by the President. For the appointment of other Judges of the High Court, the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court shall also be consulted.
The Supreme Court held in 1998 that in case of the appointment of the High Court Judges, the Chief Justice of India should consult a collegium of two senior most Judges of the Supreme Court, preferably belonging to the state where such appointments are to be made. Thus, the sole opinion of the Chief Justice of India would not constitute the ‘Consultation’ process. In case of conflicting opinions between the constitutional functionaries, the opinion of the Judiciary represented by the Chief Justice of India, formed by him in consultation with the two senior most judges of the Supreme Court, would have supremacy. The recommendations made by the Chief Justice of India without complying to the norms shall not be binding upon the Government of India, and shall be subject to Judicial Review.
VACANCY IN THE OFFICE OF THE JUDGE OF THE HIGH COURT
A vacancy may arise in the office of the Judge of a High Court, if,
QUALIFICATIONS TO BE A JUDGE OF THE HIGH COURT
To be appointed as a Judge of the High Court, a person
There is no minimum age prescribed to be the Judge of the High Court.
REMOVAL OF THE JUDGE OF THE HIGH COURT
The provisions of clauses (4) and (5) of article 124 shall apply in relation to a High Court as they apply in relation to the Supreme Court.
A Judge of the High Court can be impeached only through a motion in the regard passed by both the Houses of the Parliament by special majority. The state Legislature has nothing to do with the removal of the Judge of its High Court.
OATH OF THE JUDGE OF THE HIGH COURT
Every person appointed to be a Judge of a High Court shall, before he enters upon his office, make and subscribe before the Governor of the state, or some person appointed in that behalf by him an oath or affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule.
Every person appointed as the Judge of a High Court needs to take an oath, before joining the office, before the Governor of the state in accordance with the form set out for the purpose in the 3rd Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
RESTRICTION ON PRACTICE OF THE JUDGE OF THE HIGH COURT
No person who has held office as a permanent Judge of a High Court shall plead or act in any court or before any authority in India except the Supreme Court and the other High Courts.
The Judge of a High Court cannot practice in any court inferior to the High Court, even if they retire or take premature retirement. They can only practice in other High Courts or the Supreme Court.
SALARIES OF THE JUDGES OF THE HIGH COURT
The salary, as well as the allowances, privileges and rights, of the High Court judges may be determined by the Parliament by law, and until so determined, shall be in accordance with the provisions of Second Schedule. Also, the salary, as well as the allowances, privileges and rights, of the High Court judges cannot be varied to their disadvantage after their appointment.
TRANSFER OF A JUDGE FROM ONE HIGH COURT TO OTHER
APPOINTMENT OF ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE HIGH COURT
When the office of Chief Justice of a High Court is vacant or when any such Chief Justice is by reason of absence or otherwise, unable to perform the duties of his office, the duties of the office shall be performed by such one of the other Judges of the Court as the President may appoint for the purpose.
When there is a permanent or temporary vacancy in the office of the Chief Justice of a High Court, the President may appoint any Judge of the aforementioned High Court as an Acting Chief Justice, to perform the duties of the office of the Chief Justice, during such period.
APPOINTMENT OF ADDITIONAL OR ACTING JUDGES OF THE HIGH COURT
If at any time, the President feels that the number of Judges in a High Court must be increased owing to temporary increase in the work or by reasons of arrears of work in the aforementioned High Court, the President may appoint duly qualified persons to be the additional Judges of the High Court. The President can appoint such additional Judges for a period not exceeding 2 years at a time.
Similarly, if a permanent Judge of the High Court is temporarily not able to discharge his duties, the President may appoint a duly qualified person to act as the Judge of the aforementioned High Court until the permanent Judge resumes his duties.
It is to be noted that while making such appointment of additional judges to the High Court, the President is expected to act on the aid and advice of the Chief Justice of the High Court of the state concerned.
No person appointed as an additional or acting Judge of a High Court can hold office after attaining the age of 62 years.
PROVISION FOR RETIRED JUDGES TO ACT AS THE JUDGES OF THE HIGH COURT
Notwithstanding anything in this Chapter, the Chief Justice of a High Court for any state may at any time, with the previous consent of the President, request any person, who has held the office of a Judge of that Court or of any other High Court, to sit and act as a Judge of the High Court for that state, and every such person so requested shall, while so sitting and acting, be entitled to such allowances as the President may by order determine and have all the jurisdiction, powers and privileges of, but shall not otherwise be deemed to be, a Judge of that High Court, provided that nothing in this article shall be deemed to require any such person as aforesaid to sit and act as a Judge of that High Court unless he consents so to do.
The Chief Justice of a High Court, with the previous consent of the President, may request a person who has retired as a Judge of any High Court, to sit and act as a Judge of the High Court for that state. However, it is upto such a retired Judge if he agrees to the request or not. Such a person so requested shall, while sitting and acting as a Judge of the High Court shall have all the jurisdiction, powers and privileges of a Judge of the High Court, and such allowances as may be determined by the President of India. However, such a person shall not otherwise be deemed to be a Judge of the High Court. Also, a retired Judge cannot be appointed to fill the temporary or permanent vacancy arising for the post of the Judge of High Court.
JURISDICTION OF THE HIGH COURTS
WRIT JURISDICTION OF THE HIGH COURT
Notwithstanding anything in article 32, every High Court shall have power, throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction, to issue directions, orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo-warranto and certiorari, or any of them, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III and for any other purpose.
The High Court under Article 226 can issue writs of Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Certiorari, Prohibition and Quo-Warrento for the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights of the Citizens and for any other purpose. The phrase ‘for any other purpose’ implies that the High Court can issue writs not just for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights but also for any other purpose. Hence the power of the High Courts to issue writs is wider than that of the Supreme Court of India, since the Supreme Court under Article 32 can issue writs only for the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights. Also, the High Court can issue writs not just to person, authority or government within its territorial jurisdiction, but also to the ones outside its territorial jurisdiction if the cause of action arises within its territorial jurisdiction.
SUPERVISORY JURISDICTION OF THE HIGH COURT
The High Court has the power of superintendence over all courts and tribunals functioning within its territorial jurisdiction. This however excludes all military courts and tribunals. The High Court also has administrative control over all subordinate courts, functioning within its territorial jurisdiction. It is consulted by the Governor in the matters of appointment, posting, and promotion of District Judges, and in the matter matters of appointments of other persons to the judicial services of the state.
TRANSFER OF CERTAIN CASES TO HIGH COURT
The High Court may withdraw a case to itself from the subordinate court, if the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution. The High Court may either dispose of the case itself, or send back the copy of its judgment on such a question, to the subordinate court, which shall be obliged to dispose of the case in conformity with such judgement.
OFFICERS, SERVANTS AND EXPENSES OF HIGH COURTS
The appointments of officers and servants of a High Court are made by the Chief Justice of the High Court, or by another Judge or officer of the High Court as may be directed by the Chief Justice of the High Court. However, a person who is to be appointed for the first time in the High Court could not be appointed so without the recommendation of the respective state Public Service Commission.
The Chief Justice of the High Court specifies rules regarding the terms and conditions of such officers and servants of the High Court. However, the state Legislature by law may override such rules made by the Chief Justice in this regard. In any case, such rules regarding the terms and conditions of the officers and servants of the High Court are to be made only after prior approval from the Governor of the state.
All administrative expenses of the High Court, shall be charged upon the Consolidated Fund of the state. Any fee or money taken by the High Court for its services shall form part of this fund.
EXTENSION OF JURISDICTION OF HIGH COURTS TO UNION TERRITORIES
The Parliament may extend or exclude the jurisdiction of a High Court to any Union Territory. The state has no power to increase, restrict or abolish such a jurisdiction of its respective High Court. Any reference to the Governor in any of the provisions of the High Court with respect to the state must be understood as a reference to the President, in case of a Union Territory.
ESTABLISHMENT OF A COMMON HIGH COURT FOR TWO OR MORE STATES
In case of a common High Court for more than one state or UT, the word Governor shall be understood to refer to
Article 232 has been omitted from the Constitution of India through 7th Constitutional Amendment Act 1956.
APPOINTMENT OF DISTRICT JUDGE
The District Judge is the highest judicial authority in the district. He possesses original as well as appellate jurisdiction in both civil as well as criminal cases within the district. When he deals with civil cases, he is known as the District Judge, and when he hears the criminal cases, he is known as the Sessions Judge.
APPOINTMENT OF A DISTRICT JUDGE
The appointments, as well as postings and promotions, of District Judges in a state shall be made by the Governor of the state, in consultation with the High Court of the state.
QUALIFICATION NEEDED TO BE APPOINTED AS THE DISTRICT JUDGE
RECRUITMENT TO THE JUDICIAL SERVICES OF THE STATE
Appointments of persons, other than district judges, to the judicial service of a state shall be made by the Governor of the state, in accordance with rules made by him in that behalf after consultation with the state Public Service Commission and with the High Court exercising jurisdiction in relation to such state.
Appointments of persons, other than District Judges, to the judicial service of a state are made by the Governor of the state in accordance with rules made by him in that behalf after consultation with the state Public Service Commission and the High Court of the state. The current rule requires one to clear the competitive exam for recruitment to the judicial services of the state. The exam is conducted by the state Public Service Commission. If one clears the exam, he may join such judicial services of the state, as may be available according to his final rank.
CONTROL OVER SUBORDINATE COURTS
The control over district courts, as well as subordinate courts (including the posting, transfer and administration of persons belonging to the judicial services of the state, and holding any post inferior to the post of the district judge), shall be vested in the respective High Court.
Below the District and Sessions Court stands,
Appeals against the Subordinate Courts shall go to the District Court while appeals against the order of the District Court shall lie to the High Court. A capital punishment i.e. death penalty passed by a District Judge is subject to confirmation by the High Court, whether an appeal has been made in this regard or not.
APPLICATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS CHAPTER TO CERTAIN CLASS OF MAGISTRATES
The Governor may direct through public notification that any of the provisions of the chapter dealing with Subordinate Courts shall apply in relation to a particular class of Magistrates in the state.
The Madras High Court in Chennai, Bombay High Court in Mumbai, Calcutta High Court in Kolkata and Allahabad High Court in Prayagraj are the oldest four high courts in India. Out of these, the Calcutta High Court is the oldest high court in the country, established in 1862.