The Supreme Court is at the top of the Indian Unified Judicial System, followed by the High Courts of the States. It is the largest court within a state, that is why it gets the same status in state as the Supreme Court in the country.

In this article, we will discuss the High Court in India in a simple and easy way, and understand its various important aspects; So read this article till the end and don’t forget to read related articles;

high courts
Read in HindiYT1FBgYT2

high courts background

We know that the Indian judicial system is integrated, that is, the Supreme Court at the top, then the High Courts of the States, and then the subordinate courts within the High Court. Although the hierarchical number of the High Court comes after the Supreme Court, but in the sense of the state, it is at the top in a state.

The history of the High Court in India is older than that of the Supreme Court. You can guess how old it is from the fact that three High Courts were formed in 1862; in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. At that time, the province in which the High Court was established in British India became the High Court of that state after independence.

Although a High Court has been provided for each state under Article 214 of the Constitution of India, but in the Seventh Constitutional Amendment Act 1956, Parliament has been empowered to establish a single High Court for two or more states. (This has been written in Article 231 ). Similarly , it was written in Article 230 that the power of the High Court can be extended to the Union Territories also.

At present there are 24 High Courts in the country. Of these, four are common High Courts. Delhi is the only Union Territory to have its own High Court since 1966. Other Union Territories come under the jurisdiction of the High Courts of different states. Parliament can extend the jurisdiction of a High Court to a Union territory or exclude any Union territory from the jurisdiction of a High Court.

You can see the list of all High Courts in India and its jurisdiction below.

High Court of India and its Jurisdiction

Nameestablishment yearjurisdiction
1. Tripura2013Tripura
2. Meghalaya2013Meghalaya
3. Manipur2013Manipur
4. Uttarakhand2000Uttarakhand
5. Jharkhand2000Jharkhand
6. Chhattisgarh2000Chhattisgarh
7. Sikkim1975Sikkim
8. Himachal Pradesh1971Himachal Pradesh
9. Delhi1966Delhi
10. Gujarat1960Gujarat
11. Kerala1958Kerala and Lakshadweep
12. Madhya Pradesh1956Madhya Pradesh
13. Hyderabad1954Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
14. Rajasthan1949Rajasthan
15. Orissa1948Orissa
16. Guwahati1948Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh
17. Jammu and Kashmir1928Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh
18. Patna1916A state in Eastern India
19. Karnataka1884Karnataka
20. Punjab and Haryana1875Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh
21. Allahabad1966Uttar Pradesh
22. Bombay1862Maharashtra, Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli
23. Calcutta1862West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar Islands
24. Madras1982Tamil Nadu and Puducherry

Article 214 to 231 in Part 6 of the Constitution deals with the constitution, independence, jurisdiction, powers, procedures, etc. of the High Courts. Which we will talk about one by one.

Compoundable and Non-Compoundable OffencesHindiEnglish
Cognizable and Non- Cognizable OffencesHindiEnglish
Bailable and Non-Bailable OffencesHindiEnglish

constitution of high courts

Article 216 provides for the constitution of the High Court. But nothing has been said in the constitution about the number of judges that will constitute the High Court, that is why it is left to the discretion of the President, if the President feels that the number of judges in a High Court is less, then he can increase it.

appointment of judges

Article 217 talks about the appointment of a High Court Judge and the conditions of his office. The judges of the High Courts are appointed by the President.

The Chief Justice is appointed by the President, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the Governor of that State, and for the appointment of other Judges, the President consults the Chief Justice of that Court. and similarly if the appointment of judges to a common High Court of two or more states is made after consultation with the governors of all the states concerned.

In the Third Judges case, 1998, the Supreme Court held that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court should consult the two senior most judges on the appointment of High Court judges. Thus, the opinion of the Chief Justice of India alone will not complete the consultation process.

Qualifications of Judges

For appointment as a High Court Judge, a person must possess the following qualifications.

1. He should be a citizen of India,
2. He should have 10 years experience in judicial work in India, or he should have been an advocate in High Court for 10 consecutive years.

Remember two things here (1) the Constitution does not prescribe any minimum age limit for the appointment of a High Court Judge, and (2) There is no provision in the Constitution to appoint eminent jurists as judges of the High Court, as in the Supreme Court.

oath and affirmation

Article 219 provides for the oath or affirmation of judges. A person who has been appointed as a Judge of a High Court shall, before assuming office, make the following oath or affirmation before the Governor of this State or any other person appointed by him for the purpose of,

The Judge of the High Court takes oath in his oath.

1. Will abide by true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India.
2. Will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India.
3. Perform the duties of his office with due diligence and devotion and to the best of his ability, knowledge and discretion, without fear or favor, affection or malice.
4. Uphold the dignity of the Constitution and the law.

tenure of judges

The tenure of High Court judges is not fixed in the Constitution. However, four provisions have been made in this regard.

(1) Remains in office till the age of 62 years. In case of any dispute regarding his age, the President consults the Chief Justice of India before giving his decision. The decision of the President in this regard is final.

(2) If he so desires, he may send his resignation letter to the President.

(3) The President can remove him from office on the recommendation of the Parliament, that is, by the process of impeachment.

(4) He leaves office on his appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court or when he is transferred to another High Court.

removal of judges

Article 218 clearly states that under the provisions of clauses (4) and (5) of article 124, the removal of judges of the High Court is to be done in the same manner as a Judge of the Supreme Court.

In other words, a High Court Judge can be removed from office by order of the President. But the grounds for removal must be proven misconduct or incapacity. Simultaneously, the motion to remove the judge must be passed by a special majority of each house. That too in the same session in which the proposal for removal has been brought.

For this, the full provision of impeachment has been given in the Judge Inquiry Act 1968 – which is as follows –
(1) First of all, for the introduction of the impeachment motion in the House itself, a signed motion of 100 members in the Lok Sabha or 50 members in the Rajya Sabha will have to be submitted to the Speaker or the Chairman.
(2) The Speaker/Chairman can accept or reject the motion. If the motion is adopted, the Speaker or the Chairman shall constitute a three-member committee to inquire into the allegations.
(3) The committee should consist of (first) the Chief Justice or a Judge of the Supreme Court, (second) the Chief Justice of the High Court and (third) an eminent jurist.
(4) If the Committee finds that the Judge is guilty of misconduct or is unfit, the House may consider the motion. And after the resolution is passed by both the Houses of Parliament with a special majority, it is sent to the President for removal of the judge. Ultimately, the President passes orders to remove the judges.

If you remember the provision for removal of Supreme Court judges, you can see that it is exactly the same. It is interesting to know that till now no judge of the High Court has been impeached.

transfer of judges

Under Article 222 , the President can transfer a Judge from one High Court to another, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India. On transfer he shall be entitled to pay, in addition to such compensatory allowances, as may be determined by the Parliament.

In 1977, the Supreme Court ruled that the transfer of judges was done only as an exception and keeping in mind the public welfare and not as a punishment. Again in 1994, the Supreme Court held that judicial review is necessary to prevent arbitrariness in transfer of judges, but the same judge who has been transferred can challenge the case.

In the Third Judge Case 1998, the Supreme Court held that the Chief Justice of India would have to consult the four senior most judges in the transfer case of a High Court judge.

Out of this, two judges will be the Chief Justice of the High Court, one from where he is transferring and one from where he is going. Only after this is done, the President can transfer a Judge of a High Court.

Executive Chief Justice

Under Article 223 , the President can appoint a Judge of a High Court to be the acting Chief Justice of that High Court. When:

(1) either the office of the Chief Justice of the High Court is vacant, or
(2) the Chief Justice of the High Court is temporarily absent. or
(3) if the Chief Justice is incapacitated in the discharge of his functions.

Additional and Executive Judge

Under Article 224 , the President may, in certain circumstances, temporarily appoint qualified persons as Additional Judges of the High Court for a term not exceeding two years.

(1) if the work of the High Court has temporarily increased, or
(2) There should be more past work in the High Court.
(3) When a Judge of the High Court (other than the Chief Justice) is in absence or otherwise unable to perform his functions, or
(4) a Judge has been temporarily appointed as the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned. .

An acting judge functions until a permanent judge takes over. However, the Additional or Acting Judge cannot hold office beyond the age of 62 years.

Retired Judge

Under Article 224(a) , the Chief Justice of a High Court may at any time ask a retired Judge of that High Court or any other High Court to act as an acting Judge for a temporary period. However, he can do so only after the prior recommendation of the President and the approval of the person concerned.

Such a judge is entitled to such allowances as may be decided by the President. He has all the jurisdiction, powers and facilities and privileges of the High Court, but he is not considered a Judge of that High Court.

independence of high courts

The principle of judicial independence is adopted so that the judge is free to take decisions at his judicial discretion during his entire term upholding the supremacy of the constitution. No matter how politically unpopular those decisions may be or opposed by powerful interests.

The following provisions have been made in the Constitution for the impartial and independent functioning of the High Court:

(1) Method of appointment and security of tenure – Judges of the High Court are appointed by the President himself in consultation with the members of the judiciary. Which we have just read above, but judges do not work during the pleasure of the President, that is, the President cannot remove the judge of the High Court from his mind. In this way the tenure of the judges is secured and can take the toughest decisions.

(2) Fixed service conditions and expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of the State – Salary, allowances, privileges, leave and pension of the judges of the High Court are determined by the Parliament from time to time. These cannot be reduced except in a financial emergency.

Secondly, the salaries and allowances of the judges and staff and the administrative expenses of the High Court are charged on the Consolidated Fund of the state concerned. And there can be no vote on it in the state legislature.

It is to be noted here that the pension of a High Court Judge is given from the Consolidated Fund of India and not from the Consolidated Fund of the State.

(3) The work of the judges cannot be discussed – The conduct of a High Court judge cannot be discussed in the Parliament or the State Legislature except when the impeachment motion is pending in the Parliament.

(4) Restriction on practice after retirement – According to Article 220 , a retired permanent Judge of a High Court cannot argue or act in any court or before any authority other than the Supreme Court and other High Courts in India. Such a provision has been made so that they do not favor anyone in the hope of what benefit in future.

(5) Power to punish for contempt of itself – High Court can punish any person for contempt of itself. Thus, no one can criticize or oppose its actions and decisions. This power is given to maintain the authority, dignity and honor of the High Court.

(6) Freedom to appoint his employees – The Chief Justice of the High Court can appoint his officers and employees to the High Court (without executive interference) and can also fix their conditions of service. This in itself is a great freedom.

(7) Its jurisdiction cannot be curtailed – The jurisdiction and judicial powers of the High Court mentioned in the Constitution cannot be reduced neither by the Parliament nor by the State Legislature. But in other cases its jurisdiction and power can be changed by Parliament and Legislature.

(8) Separation from the executive – According to the constitutional provision, the judiciary should be kept separate from the executive in public services, that is, the executive should not have judicial powers.

So here is the High Court in India and important things related to it, there is another part of this article, you must read it too ️- High Court Jurisdiction

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