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Section B — Chapter 4

The Supreme Court

Class 10 - Total History & Civics Solutions


Short Answer Questions

Question 1

Who determines the strength of the Supreme Court?

Answer

The Parliament determines the strength of the Supreme Court.

Question 2

By whom are the Judges of the Supreme Court appointed and how?

Answer

A group of senior Supreme Court judges headed by the CJI would make recommendations to the President on who should be appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court. The CJI is required to consult the four senior most judges of the Supreme Court before making any recommendation to the President of India in this regard. This came to be known as the Collegium System which allows a college of persons (judges) to appoint judges.

Question 3

What is the term of office of a Judge of the Supreme Court?

Answer

A Judge of the Supreme Court shall hold office until he attains the age of 65 years. A Judge may resign his office, by submitting his resignation letter to the President.

Question 4

On what grounds can a judge of the Supreme Court be removed from office?

Answer

A Judge of the Supreme Court cannot be removed from office except by an order of the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.

Question 5

With reference to the judiciary, what is meant by the term 'impeachment'?

Answer

A Judge of the Supreme Court cannot be removed from office except by an order of the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity. This charge needs to be proved only by a joint address by both houses of Parliament and supported by a two-third majority of members present and voting. The word 'proved' is very important. It means that an allegation has been thoroughly examined by some impartial tribunal. This procedure is known as impeachment.

Question 6

Who decides the salaries and other emoluments of the Judges of the Supreme Court?

Answer

The salaries and other emoluments of the Judges of Supreme Court are decided by the President of India according to Article 125 of the Constitution of India. The salaries of judges cannot be reduced except during the period of financial emergency. Their salaries and allowances are charged to the Consolidated Fund of India and so are not subject to vote of Parliament.

Question 7

Who is the protector and final interpreter of the Constitution?

Answer

The Supreme Court is the protector and final interpreter of the Constitution.

Question 8

Under what circumstances can the salaries and allowances of the Judges of the Supreme Court be reduced?

Answer

The salaries of the Judges cannot be reduced except during periods of financial emergency.

Question 9

Name the three types of jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

Answer

The three types of jurisdiction of the Supreme Court are-

  1. Original Jurisdiction
  2. Appellate Jurisdiction
  3. Advisory Jurisdiction

Question 10

In case of violation of the Fundamental Rights of individuals, which type of jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is applicable?

Answer

In case of violation of the Fundamental Rights of individuals, the Original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is applicable.

Question 11

Mention any one power of the Supreme Court which is not enjoyed by other courts.

Answer

One power of the Supreme Court, which is not enjoyed by other Courts, is that only Supreme Court has the right to revise its earlier decisions.

Question 12

What happens if either the Parliament or a State Legislature passes any law that is against the Constitution?

Answer

The Supreme Court has the power to review laws passed by the Union or State legislatures. If either the Parliament or a State Legislature passes any law that is against the Constitution, the Supreme Court can declare the law 'ultra vires' or null and void. This power is referred to as the power of judicial review.

Question 13

What is meant by the term 'Writ'?

Answer

A writ is an order from a judicial authority asking a person to perform some act or refrain from performing an act.

Question 14

Name any two writs issued by the Supreme Court.

Answer

Two writs issued by the Supreme Court are-

  1. Writ of Prohibition
  2. Writ of Certiorari

Structured Questions

Question 1

The Supreme Court is the apex court in the entire judicial set up in India. In this context answer the following questions:

(a) What is meant by the term Single Integrated Judicial System?

(b) Explain briefly the impeachment procedure for the removal of judges.

(c) State the difference between the Original jurisdiction and the Appellate jurisdiction. Mention two functions that come under Original jurisdiction.

Answer

(a) Under our Constitution the judiciary is a single integrated system of courts for the Union and the states with the Supreme Court at the apex. By the single integrated system we mean-

  1. The Supreme Court is the head of the entire system and not only supervises but also exercises control over the functioning of other courts.
  2. There are no separate sets of laws and a single civil and criminal system operates throughout the country.
  3. All cases coming from the Lower Courts can be taken to the High Court and ultimately to the Supreme Court, by way of appeal.

Below the Supreme Court stand the High Courts of different States and under each High Court there is a hierarchy of other subordinate courts.

(b) A Judge of the Supreme Court cannot be removed from office except by an order of the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity. This charge needs to be proved only by a joint address by both houses of Parliament and supported by a two-third majority of members present and voting. The word 'proved' is very important. It means that an allegation has been thoroughly examined by some impartial tribunal.

(c) The differences between the Original jurisdiction and the Appellate jurisdiction are as follows-

Original jurisdictionAppellate jurisdiction
Original Jurisdiction means the power to hear and determine a dispute in the first instance; i.e., those cases which cannot be moved in any court other than the Supreme Court.Appellate Jurisdiction means the powers to grant special leave to appeal against the judgement delivered by any court in the country.
It deals with Centre-State or Inter-State disputes, protection of fundamental rights, transfer of cases from lower courts and interpretation of Constitution.The appellate jurisdiction extends to Constitutional, civil and criminal cases.

Two functions that come under Original jurisdiction are-

  1. The Supreme Court has the original jurisdiction to settle disputes between the Central government and one or more States and Union Territories as well as between different States and Union Territories.
  2. It has original jurisdiction with regard to the enforcement of Fundamental Rights, transfer of cases from High Courts and interpretation of the Constitution.

Question 2

With regard to the Supreme Court of India, answer the following questions:

(a) State three qualifications required to be a Judge of the Supreme Court.

(b) Mention three ways in which the Constitution ensures the independence of the Judges of the Supreme Court.

(c) Mention two types under which an appeal in a criminal case lies to the Supreme Court.

Answer

(a) A person is not qualified for appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court unless he is a citizen of India, and

  1. has been for at least five years a Judge of a High Court or of two or more such courts in succession; or
  2. has been for at least ten years an advocate of a High Court or of two or more such courts in succession; or
  3. is, in the opinion of the President, a distinguished jurist.

(b) Three ways in which the Constitution ensures the independence of the Judges of the Supreme Court are-

  1. Appointment of Judges — Every Judge of the Supreme Court is appointed by the President after consultation with the Cabinet as well as the Judges of Supreme Court and High Court. Thus, the judiciary and the executive are involved in the appointment of Judges.
  2. Security of Tenure — A Judge can remain in office till he has attained the age of 65 years. He can be removed by the President on the ground of "proved misbehaviour or incapacity."
  3. Punishment for Contempt of Court — The Supreme Court can punish for the contempt of court if a person or authority makes an attempt to lower its authority.

(c) Two types under which an appeal in a criminal case lies to the Supreme Court are-

  1. Cases without the certificate of the High Court.
  2. Cases with the certificate of the High Court.

The certificate of the High Court is not required in a case:

  1. Where the High Court has reversed the judgement of acquittal given by the Lower Court and punished the accused with a death sentence.
  2. A case which is withdrawn by the High Court from a Subordinate Court and sentenced the accused to death.

Question 3

The independence of the judiciary is necessary in a federal democratic set-up. In this context, describe the part played by the following:

(a) Security of Tenure of Office.

(b) Security of Salary and Allowances of the Judges.

(c) Power to punish for Contempt of itself.

Answer

(a) A Judge can remain in office till he has attained the age of 65 years. He can be removed by the President on the ground of "proved misbehaviour or incapacity."

(b) Judges' salaries, allowances, etc., shall not be changed to their disadvantage during their term of office. The salaries of the Judges cannot be reduced except during periods of financial emergency. Their salaries and allowances are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India and so are not subject to vote of Parliament.

(c) The Supreme Court can punish for the contempt of court if a person or authority makes an attempt to lower its authority.

Question 4

The Supreme Court has extensive jurisdiction. In this context answer the following:

(a) What is meant by 'Appellate Jurisdiction'? Name two types of cases in which an appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court.

(b) What do you understand by advisory functions of the Supreme Court? State the types of cases where the Supreme Court may be required to express its opinion.

(c) What is meant by Revisory Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?

Answer

(a) Appellate Jurisdiction means the powers to grant special leave to appeal against the judgement delivered by any court in the country. The appellate jurisdiction extends to Constitutional, civil and criminal cases.

Two types of cases in which an Appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court are-

  1. Constitutional cases
  2. Civil cases

(b) The Supreme Court has advisory jurisdiction (to give its opinion) on any question of law or fact of public importance as may be referred to it for consideration by the President of India.

The Supreme Court may be required to express its opinion in two classes of matters, in an advisory capacity:

  1. Any question of law may be referred to the Supreme Court if the President considers that the question is of public importance and it is necessary to obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court. Such opinion of the Supreme Court is advisory and not binding on the Government nor is it executable as a judgement of the Supreme Court.
  2. Disputes arising out of pre-Constitution treaties and agreements which are excluded from original jurisdiction by Article 131.

(c) The Supreme Court under Article 137 is empowered to review any judgement or order made by it with a view to removing any mistake or error that might have crept in the judgement or order. This is because the Supreme Court is a court of record and its decisions are of evidentiary value and cannot be questioned in any court.

Question 5

Discuss how the Constitution has ensured that the Supreme Court acts as:

(a) Custodian of the Constitution.

(b) Guardian of the Fundamental Rights.

(c) A Court of Records.

Answer

(a) All cases where interpretation of the Constitution is required can be directly filed in the Supreme Court.

  1. The Supreme Court has the power of exclusive jurisdiction in regard to questions as to Constitutional validity of central laws.
  2. The Supreme Court is the interpreter of the Constitution and its decision is final.
  3. It has the power to review laws passed by the Union or State legislatures.
  4. The Supreme Court can declare a law 'ultra vires' or null and void, if it is against the letter and spirit of the Constitution or contravenes any provision of the Constitution. This power is referred to as the power of judicial review.
  5. The minimum number of Judges to hear and decide a case involving interpretation of the Constitution shall be five.
  6. The Supreme Court has the power to review all National and State laws and executive orders and declare them null and void, if they go against the provisions of the Constitution.

(b) The original jurisdiction of Supreme Court extends to cases of violation of the Fundamental Rights of individuals and the court can issue several writs for the enforcement of these rights.

  1. Any citizen whose rights are violated may move the Supreme Court for the enforcement of the rights.
  2. The Supreme Court has power to issue orders or writs, in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari for the enforcement of any of the Fundamental Rights.
  3. The Constitution prohibits the State from making any law which takes away or abridges the Fundamental Rights.
  4. If it does so, the law shall be declared null and void by the Supreme Court.

(c) A Court of Record is a court whose judgements are recorded for evidence and testimony.

  1. The judgements are in the nature of 'precedents', i.e., the High Courts and other Courts are bound to give a similar decision in a similar case. They are not to be questioned when they are produced before any subordinate court.
  2. The Supreme 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.
  3. The Court of Record has two implications:
    (i) Its judgements and orders are preserved as record. These can be produced in any court as precedents.
    (ii) If a person commits a contempt of court,. the court has the authority to punish him. No authority can deprive the court of this right.

Question 6

Supreme Court has many functions to protect the interests of all citizens. In this context, answer the following questions:

(a) What is meant by Judicial Review?

(b) What is the scope of Judicial Review?

(c) What is the significance of the power of Judicial Review?

Answer

(a) The Supreme Court is the interpreter of the Constitution and its decision is final.

  1. It has the power to review laws passed by the Union or State legislatures.
  2. The Supreme Court can declare a law 'ultra vires' or null and void, if it is against the letter and spirit of the Constitution or contravenes any provision of the Constitution. This power is referred to as the power of judicial review.

(b) The Supreme Court has the power of exclusive jurisdiction in regard to questions as to Constitutional validity of central laws.

  1. The Supreme Court is the interpreter of the Constitution and its decision is final.
  2. It has the power to review laws passed by the Union or State legislatures.
  3. The Supreme Court can declare a law 'ultra vires' or null and void, if it is against the letter and spirit of the Constitution or contravenes any provision of the Constitution. This power is referred to as the power of judicial review.
  4. The minimum number of Judges to hear and decide a case involving interpretation of the Constitution shall be five.
  5. The Supreme Court has the power to review all National and State laws and executive orders and declare them null and void, if they go against the provisions of the Constitution.

(c) The Constitution has provided for a balance of powers between the Centre and the States. If the Union government or the State go beyond their limits, the Supreme Court can settle the dispute.

  1. In a written Constitution a law may be ambiguously worked. The question of interpretation of the Constitution is bound to arise and the Supreme Court only has the power of original jurisdiction.
  2. The legislature may not possess the wisdom, experience and impartiality which are needed to explain what the law means.

This function can be best performed by the Supreme Court.

Picture Study

Question 1

Study the figure and answer the following questions:

Identify the building in the picture. Where is it located? What is the position of this court in the entire judicial set up in India? State three qualifications required to be the judge of this court. How does this court maintain the sanctity of the Constitution of India Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Total History and Civics Solutions ICSE Class 10.

(a) Identify the building in the picture. Where is it located? What is the position of this court in the entire judicial set up in India?

(b) State three qualifications required to be the judge of this court.

(c) How does this court maintain the sanctity of the Constitution of India

Answer

(a) The figure shows the Supreme Court of India. It is located in New Delhi.

Under our Constitution the judiciary is a single integrated system of courts for the Union and the states with the Supreme Court at the apex. The Supreme Court is the head of the entire system and not only supervises but also exercises control over the functioning of other courts.

(b) A person is not qualified for appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court unless he is a citizen of India, and

  1. has been for at least five years a Judge of a High Court or of two or more such courts in succession; or
  2. has been for at least ten years an advocate of a High Court or of two or more such courts in succession; or
  3. is, in the opinion of the President, a distinguished jurist.

(c) All cases where interpretation of the Constitution is required can be directly filed in the Supreme Court.

  1. The Supreme Court has the power of exclusive jurisdiction in regard to questions as to Constitutional validity of central laws.
  2. The Supreme Court is the interpreter of the Constitution and its decision is final.
  3. It has the power to review laws passed by the Union or State legislatures.
  4. The Supreme Court can declare a law 'ultra vires' or null and void, if it is against the letter and spirit of the Constitution or contravenes any provision of the Constitution. This power is referred to as the power of judicial review.
  5. The minimum number of Judges to hear and decide a case involving interpretation of the Constitution shall be five.
  6. The Supreme Court has the power to review all National and State laws and executive orders and declare them null and void, if they go against the provisions of the Constitution.

Thinking Skills

Question 1

Suppose a person has been detained but has not been produced before the magistrate within 24 hours of arrest. Which legal remedy is available to him under the Constitution of India? (Hint: Writ petition)

Answer

If a person has been detained but has not been produced before the magistrate within 24 hours of arrest, the Constitution of India has provided the writ of Habeas Corpus for such situation. It means 'to have the body'. By issuing such a writ, the High court or the Supreme Court can get the body of any person released if it has been unlawfully detained by any person or a group of persons or by the State. This writ is thus, a great safeguard for the personal freedom of a citizen.

Question 2

If the Supreme Court declares a law made by the Central Government as null and void, which power is used by it? On what grounds can the Supreme Court make use of this power?

Answer

The Supreme Court can declare a law made by the Central Government as null and void using the power of Judicial Review conferred upon it by the Constitution of India.
The Supreme Court can declare a law 'ultra vires' or null and void, if it is against the letter and spirit of the Constitution or contravenes any provision of the Constitution.

Question 3

You are a witness to an instance of exploitation of a child. What steps could you take to protect the Rights of the Child?

Answer

As a witness to an instance of exploitation of a child, in order to protect the Rights of the Child I can file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) demanding justice for the child.
The Constitution has provided Right Against Exploitation as one of the Fundamental Rights. As the exploitation of the child is violating his/her Fundamental Right, hence the PIL can be filed in the Supreme Court for the enforcement of this right.
The Supreme Court has simplified procedures in the area of Public Interest Litigation (PIL). I can register the case of exploitation of the child simply by writing my complaint on a postcard or application and sending it to the Supreme Court.

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