Jurisdiction of Supreme Court of India

The Constitution grants the Supreme Court a wide range of jurisdictional and executive authority. It functions as both a federal court, similar to the US Supreme Court, and a final court of appeal, similar to the British House of Lords (the Upper House of the British Parliament). It also serves as the final arbiter, keeper, and protector of the rights of the people under the Constitution. Additionally, it has advisory and governing authority.

What is Jurisdiction?

The Latin roots of the word "jurisdiction" are "juris," which means "law," and "dicere," which means "to speak." As a result, the scope of the Supreme Court’s hearing to consider cases and resolve disputes defines jurisdiction in its entirety. The Supreme Court is regarded as the last interpreter and guardian of the Indian constitution because it is the pinnacle of the country's judicial system and is responsible for upholding the rule of law and the country's constitution.

The Supreme Court has been granted a very broad range of enormous jurisdictional rights by the constitution. It also has supervisory and advisory functions. Articles 124 to 147 of the Indian Constitution define the Supreme Court's constitutional authority and jurisdiction. The Supreme Court of India serves as both a final court, similar to the British House of Lords, and a federal court, similar to the Supreme Court of the United States.

What is Supreme Court?

The Constitution of the Republic of India designates the Supreme Court of India as the highest court in the country and its supreme judicial authority. Being the oldest constitutional court, it has the final say in all cases, with the exception of those involving personal laws, and it also has the authority to conduct judicial reviews.

All lower courts must follow the rulings of India's Supreme Court because it is the highest court in the nation.

It serves as both the final court of appeals and the final interpreter of the Constitution. Because of these immense powers, many people have referred to it as one of the most powerful tribunals in the world. The Indian Constitution serves as its foundation.

What are Jurisdictions of Supreme Court?

The Supreme Court was quoted as saying by Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar, a member of the constitution-drafting committee, "The top court of India has more powers than any other supreme court in any region of the world." The Supreme Court's authority can be categorized in the following ways:

Original Jurisdiction

The Supreme Court's original jurisdiction is confirmed under Article 131 of the Indian Constitution. As a federal court, it has exclusive initial jurisdiction over any disputes involving several Indian federation states. These disagreements are:

The Union GovernmentOne or more state governments
One-to-one state governmentOr more state governments

There must be a relevant question of legal rights raised by the disputes covered by this article. The disputes covered by this article may not be brought before any other court. The Apex Court was granted such broad power by the Constitution's framers in order to ensure that cases of this nature were finally resolved by the federal government's top court.

A treaty, agreement, or other similar instrument may, according to the caveat in Article 131, exclude the Supreme Court's jurisdiction. Section 204 of the Government of India Act, 1935, which is the purported basis for this article, is cited.

In addition, the phrasing of Article 131 suggests that it must be interpreted in conformity with and "subject" to other constitutional requirements. As a result, the original jurisdiction under Article 131 may be limited by other constitutional provisions, such as those dealing with disagreements over the management and distribution of interstate river waters (Article 260) or presidential recommendations to the Finance Commission (Article 280).

Writ Jurisdiction

According to the Indian Constitution, the Supreme Court is the guardian and protector of the citizens' basic rights. Under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, the Supreme Court is authorized to issue writs in order to enforce the nation's fundamental rights. The Supreme Court has the authority to issue the following writs, including:

  • Habeas Corpus: In order to determine whether the imprisonment is legitimate or unlawful, a Writ is issued directing the detainee's appearance before the court. The 44th Constitutional Amendment has the effect of allowing the writ of habeas corpus to be issued during times of emergency as well because it states that Article 21 cannot be suspended, even during times of a state of emergency.

  • Quo warranto: A court issues this writ to a public official, demanding that he defend the legitimacy of his conduct. The public official must provide evidence of his legitimacy in order to hold the position and exercise its functions. Typically, this injunction is filed against executives who occupy public offices.

  • Mandamus: This writ is issued by the court to order a public servant to resume performing his public duties. It is important to remember that this writ cannot be filed against an individual, a high court chief justice, the President of India, or the governor of any state.

  • Prohibition: The Court issues this writ to stop a subordinate court from going beyond its authority, usurping it, or acting unlawfully. When a subordinate court decides to try a case that is outside of its purview, this writ is issued.

  • Certiorari: The Court is empowered to issue the writ of certiorari, therefore setting aside or quashing the Subordinate Court's erroneous decision, when it rules on a matter that is beyond of its purview or when it does so in a manner that is contrary to natural justice principles.

When a common case is pending before two or more high courts, or before the Supreme Court and one or more high courts, the Supreme Court may withdraw the matter from the high court and continue to resolve it on its own if it determines that it is of public significance.

Appellate Jurisdiction

The Supreme Court is the highest court in India and a federal court, making it clear that its role is essentially that of an appeals court for decisions made by lesser courts and tribunals. The Indian Constitution's Articles 132 and 133 create the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction. The Supreme Court has more extensive appeal authority, which can be divided into four groups:

  • Appeals in Constitutional matters: In constitutional disputes, an appeal against a high court judgment may be filed with the Supreme Court if the high court certifies that the case presents a significant legal question that requires constitutional interpretation.

    On the basis of the certificate, the opposing party may file an appeal with the Supreme Court, arguing that the issue was improperly decided.

  • Appeals in Civil matter: Any decision made by a high court in a civil case may be appealed to the Supreme Court if the high court certifies:

    • That a significant legal issue of wide significance is present in the case;

    • The issue necessitates a ruling from the Supreme Court.

  • Appeals in Criminal matter: If a high court rules in a criminal matter and there is an appeal, the Supreme Court will hear it.

    • Reversed a judgment of acquittal and, after an appeal, sentenced the defendant to death;

    • Has taken any matter from any inferior court, found the defendant guilty, and given him the death penalty; or

    • Attests that the appeal is appropriate in this circumstance.

  • Appeals by Special leave: The Supreme Court, with the exception of military tribunals and court-martial, has the discretion to give special leave to appeal any decision made by any court or tribunal in the nation.

    The following are the four components of this clause:

    • It cannot be asserted as a right because it is a discretionary authority.

    • It may be granted in any conclusive or preliminary judgment.

    • It could be concerning the constitution, civil or criminal law, income taxes, labor, revenue, lawyers, or anything else.

    • It is not limited to high courts and may be awarded against any court or body (except in the case of a military court).

Advisory Jurisdiction

The Apex Court is granted advisory jurisdiction under Article 143. The President has the authority to solicit the Supreme Court's advisory opinion on any issue of law or fact that affects the public if he or she believes it would be beneficial to do so.

The Government of India Act, 1935, also gave rise to the advisory jurisdiction, much like the original jurisdiction did. The Government of India Act, 1935, Section 213(1), established the Federal Court's advisory jurisdiction. Article 143 of the Constitution contains the core of this section.

It is important to remember that the Court's jurisdiction under Article 143 is only advisory in nature and does not have any legal effect on the President or the Government. The Court just expresses to the President its judgment on the subject at hand without issuing any orders or decrees.


In India, the Supreme Court is at the apex of the court system. It has extensive authority and is in charge of upholding the rule of law in the nation and reining in the excesses of the legislative and executive branches. It is obvious that the Supreme Court was granted the same authority as the Federal Court and the Privy Council had. Parliament has the power to give the court even more expansive legal authority. The inherent authority of the Court, however, cannot be restricted or limited by any Act of Parliament.


Q1. What are the jurisdiction of Supreme Court and High Court?

Ans. The Supreme Court also establishes the high court's jurisdiction for appeals, which may involve a variety of topics. The high courts of various states appeal issues involving criminal law or civil law to the Supreme Court.

Q2. What is the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India?

Ans. Original, appellate, advisory, review, inherent, and extraordinary jurisdiction are the six categories of jurisdiction available to the Supreme Court.

Updated on: 30-Jan-2023


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