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Section A — Chapter 5

The State Judiciary: The High Courts

Class 10 - APC Modern History & Civics Solutions


Short Answer Questions

Question 1

Name two High Courts of India whose jurisdiction extends to more than one State.

Answer

Guwahati High Court and Chandigarh High Court are the two High Courts of India whose jurisdiction extends to more than one State.

Question 2

Name a Union Territory which has a High Court of its own.

Answer

The National Capital Territory of Delhi has its own High Court.

Question 3

What is meant by the Composition of a High Court?

Answer

Each High Court has a Chief Justice and such other Judges as the President may from time to time appoint. The number of the judges of a High Court is not fixed. Therefore, their number varies from state to state.

Question 4

How are the Chief Justice and other Judges of High Court appointed?

Answer

The Chief Justice of the High Court is appointed by the President of India in consultation with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Governor of the concerned state. The appointment of other judges shall also be made in the same manner except that in their case the Chief Justice of the High Court shall also be consulted.

Question 5

Mention any one qualification that has been laid down for a Judge of a High Court besides being a Citizen of India.

Answer

One qualification that has been laid down for a Judge of a High Court besides being a Citizen of India is that one should have held a judicial office in India for at least 10 years.

Question 6

Who administers the Oath of Office to the Judge of a High Court?

Answer

A Judge of a High Court, before he enters upon his office, shall take an Oath before the Governor of the State, or some person appointed in that behalf by him.

Question 7

What is the tenure of a Judge of a High Court?

Answer

Every judge of a High Court shall hold office until he attains the age of 62 years.

Question 8

On what grounds can a Judge of the High Court be removed from Office?

Answer

A judge can be removed from office on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.

Question 9

What is meant by the Original Jurisdiction of the High Court?

Answer

The original jurisdiction extends to those cases which High Court has authority to hear and decide in the first instance.

Question 10

Mention two types of cases in which the High Court exercises Original Jurisdiction.

Answer

The High Court exercises Original Jurisdiction with respect to the following matters:

  1. The cases regarding wills, divorce, marriage, Admiralty, Company Law and Contempt of Court can be taken up by the High court directly.
  2. The High Court has the power to issue Writs for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights.

Question 11

Mention two types of cases in which the High Court exercises Appellate Jurisdiction.

Answer

Appellate jurisdiction of the High Courts is both civil and criminal.

  1. In Civil cases the High Courts hear the appeals against the decisions of District Judges.
  2. In Criminal cases appellate jurisdiction consists of Appeals:
    1. Against the judgement of a Sessions Judge or an Additional Sessions Judge, where the sentence of imprisonment exceeds seven years.
    2. Against the judgement of Assistant Sessions Judge, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate or other Judicial Magistrates, where the sentence of imprisonment exceeds four years.

Question 12

Name any two Writs which can be issued by a High Court to protect the Fundamental Rights.

Answer

Two Writs which can be issued by a High Court to protect the Fundamental Rights are the writs of Habeas Corpus and Mandamus.

Question 13

What is meant by the Writ of Habeas Corpus?

Answer

The Writ of Habeas Corpus provides a remedy for a person who has been unlawfully held in prison or in police custody. This Writ may also be issued where a person has been detained by a private individual. The High Court commands that the person detained should be brought into Court. If the cause for his detention is found insufficient, he is at once unconditionally released.

Question 14

What do we mean when we say that the High Court is a "Court of Record"?

Answer

The High Court is a "Court of Record". The Court of Record has two characteristics.

  1. Its judgments and orders are preserved as record. These can be produced in any court as precedents. The law laid down by the High Court is binding on all subordinate courts and administrative tribunals in the State.
  2. If a person commits a contempt of High Court, the Court has the authority to punish him. Neither the Supreme Court nor the Parliament can deprive the High Court of this right.

Question 15

Mention any two ways by which the Constitution ensures independence and impartiality of the High Courts.

Answer

Two ways by which the Constitution ensures independence and impartiality of the High Courts are-

  1. Security of salaries — Judges' salaries are charged on the Consolidated Fund of the State. Thus the salaries are not subject to Vote of the Legislature.
  2. No Discussion with respect to the Conduct of any Judge — No discussion shall take place in the Legislature of a State or in Parliament with respect to the conduct of any Judge in the discharge of his duties, except when a motion for his removal is under consideration.

Structured Questions

Question 1

The High Court stands at the head of the Judiciary in the State. As regards the composition of the High Court, answer the following questions:

(a) How are the Chief Justice and other Judges of the High Court appointed?

(b) What qualifications are needed for being a Judge of the High Court?

(c) By whom and how can High Court judges be transferred from one High Court to another?

Answer

(a) The Chief Justice of the High Court is appointed by the President of India in consultation with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Governor of the concerned State.
The appointment of other judges shall also be made in the same manner except that in their case the Chief Justice of the High Court shall also be consulted.
The Supreme Court ruled that the Chief Justice of India should consult two senior most judges of the Supreme Court before making any recommendation to the President regarding appointment of the Judges of the High Court.

(b) The qualifications needed for being a Judge of the High Court are as under:

  1. One should be a Citizen of India
  2. One should have held a judicial office in India for at least 10 years, or
  3. One should have been advocate of a High Court for at least ten years.

(c) The transfer of judges from one High Court to another comes under the discretion of the President but it requires these conditions to be fulfilled:

  1. Orders for transfer can be issued after consulting the Chief Justice of India.
  2. The views of the Chief Justices of the High Courts — one from which the transfer is taking place and another to which the transfer is to be carried out — must also be obtained.

Question 2

The High Court has an extensive Jurisdiction. In this context discuss the following:

(a) Three types of cases in which it has Original Jurisdiction

(b) Three types of cases in which it has Appellate Jurisdiction

(c) Its Revisory Jurisdiction

Answer

(a) Three types of cases in which the High Court has Original Jurisdiction are-

  1. The cases regarding wills, divorce, marriage, Admiralty, Company Law and Contempt of Court can be taken up by the High court directly.
  2. The High Court has the power to issue Writs for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
  3. The High Court has the jurisdiction to hear an election petition. Appeal lies to the Supreme Court.

(b) Three types of cases in which the High Court has Appellate Jurisdiction are-

  1. In Civil cases the High Courts hear the appeals against the decisions of District Judges.
  2. In Criminal cases appellate jurisdiction consists of Appeals:
    1. Against the judgement of a Sessions Judge or an Additional Sessions Judge, where the sentence of imprisonment exceeds seven years.
    2. Against the judgement of Assistant Sessions Judge, the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate or other Judicial Magistrates, where the sentence of imprisonment exceeds four years.
  3. Appeals also lie
    1. in matters concerning land revenue, and
    2. against orders of the Tribunals, such as the Rent Controller, State Transport Authority and Labour Tribunal.

(c) The High Court may call for the record of any case which has been decided by a subordinate court. If the High Court feels that the subordinate court has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it or has acted with gross irregularity, it may make such order in the case as it deems fit. This is known as the revisory jurisdiction of the High Court. In other words, if the High Court is reasonably convinced that there was a 'miscarriage of justice', or 'violation of principles of natural justice', it will set aside subordinate court's verdict and pronounce a new judgement.

Question 3

Besides the power of issuing the Writs, each High Court is a Court of Record. In this context answer the following questions:

(a) How do the High Courts enforce Fundamental Rights?

(b) How can you say that the Writ Jurisdiction of the High Court is wider than that of the Supreme Court?

(c) What is meant by the assertion that the High Court is a Court of Record?

Answer

(a) All High Courts have the power to issue Writs to a person or an official.

  1. The Writs comprise the Writs of Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, Quo Warranto and Certiorari.
  2. These writs are issued to protect the Fundamental Rights or for any other purpose.
  3. The Writ of Habeas Corpus provides a remedy for a person who has been unlawfully held in prison, in police custody or if a person has been detained by a private individual. The High Court commands that the person detained should be brought into Court. If the cause for his detention is found insufficient, he is at once unconditionally released.
  4. The Writ of Mandamus compels an inferior court or an individual to perform their legal duty.
  5. A writ of prohibition is issued to prevent an inferior court from exercising powers with which it is not legally vested.
  6. By issuing a Writ of Certiorari, the lower court is asked to hand over the record of a particular case to the higher court.
  7. Writ of Quo Warranto is directed against a person who has wrongfully usurped an office. The Writ calls upon the person to show under what authority he holds the office. If the court decides that the person concerned is holding that office illegally, it may declare the office to be vacant.

(b) The Writ Jurisdiction of the High Court is wider than that of the Supreme Court.

  1. The writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is restricted to enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
  2. But the words "for any other purpose" allow the High Courts to issue writs for enforcement of all rights, whether Fundamental Rights or any of the legal rights.

(c) The High Court is a "Court of Record". The Court of Record has two characteristics.

  1. Its judgments and orders are preserved as record. These can be produced in any court as precedents. The law laid down by the High Court is binding on all subordinate courts and administrative tribunals in the State.
  2. If a person commits a contempt of High Court, the Court has the authority to punish him. Neither the Supreme Court nor the Parliament can deprive the High Court of this right.

Question 4

Like the Supreme Court of India the High Court is also an Interpreter and Guardian of the Constitution. In this context answer the following questions:

(a) What is meant by Judicial Review?
Or
How do the High Courts hold the legislative and executive organs in check?

(b) Do the High Courts have power to determine the validity of a Union (Central) law?

Answer

(a) Judicial review refers to the power of the High Court to examine the validity of the decisions and orders of the Union and State Governments. The High Courts have the power to exercise judicial review and judge the validity of the laws and orders issued by Executive officials. If a High Court finds that a particular law or an order of the Executive goes beyond the provisions of the Constitution, it can declare them null and void.

(b) Yes, the High Courts have power to determine the validity of a Union (Central) law.
Forty-second Amendment Act (1976) had deprived the High Courts of their power to determine the validity of a Central law. But the 44th Amendment Act (1978) removed this restriction.

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