The High Courts in India

Articles 214 to 231 in Chapter V of Part IV relate to the High Courts. Article 214 says that there has to be a High Court for each State, though some states may have a common High Court (Guwahati High Court, for example, has its jurisdiction over the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram; and Punjab and Haryana High Court has its 106?Indian Polity and Governance jurisdiction over the States of Punjab and Haryana). Among the Union Territories, Delhi has a High Court, while other Union Territories are attached to their neighbouring States. Like the Supreme Court of India, each High Court is a court of record (Article 215) and accordingly, has the power to punish for contempt of the court.

Each High Court, Article 216 says, consists of a Chief Justice and such other judges as the President may from time to time deem it necessary to appoint. Article 217 prescribes the appointment, tenure and qualifications of judges. It reads, thus: 1. Every Judge of a High Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, and the Governor of the State. In the case of appointment of a judge other than the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of the High Court shall be consulted. With the Constitution Amendment Act, 2014, which is now declared invalid the collegium process of appointing judges in the supreme court/High court stays.

Provided that:

(a) a judge may, by an application written in his hand addressed to the President, resign from his office;

(b) a judge may be removed from his office by the President in the manner provided in clause (4) of Article 124 for the removal of a judge of the Supreme Court.

(c) the office of a high court judge shall be vacated by his being appointed by the President to be a judge of the Supreme Court or by his being transferred by the President to any other High Court within the territory of India.

2. A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a judge of a High Court unless he is a citizen of India; and

(a) has for at least ten years held a judicial office in the territory of India; or

(b) has, for at least ten years, been an advocate of a High Court or two or more such courts in succession.

The Calcutta High Court is the oldest High Court India, established on July 2, 1862. The High Courts which handle a large number of cases of a particular region, have permanent benches (or a branch of the court) established there. Benches exist also in states which come under the jurisdiction of a court outside its territorial limits. Smaller states with few cases may have circuit benches. The judges of High Courts are given salaries and allowances, and are entitled to privileges as are determined by a Parliament through law.

The jurisdiction of the High Court as per the Constitution and the law is as under:

(i) Original: The High Court hears all disputes

(a) relating to matters of admiralty, will, marriage, company laws, contempt of court;

(b) relating to the elections of Parliament and state legislatures;

(c) relating to revenue matters;

(d) relating to enforcement of the fundamental rights.

(ii) Writs: The High Court has the power to issue writs such as habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto, certiorari (Article 226)

(iii) Appellate: Civil appeals against orders and judgments of district courts, additional courts; criminal appeals against sentences of more than seven years : death sentences awarded by a lower court have to be confirmed by the High Court, where the lower court itself certifies that the appeal against its judgment can be made.

(iv) Control over Subordinate Courts: The High Court has the power to superintend over all courts and tribunals with regard to the compliance of rules and procedures, and service conditions

(v) Judicial Review: The High Court has the power to examine the Constitutionality of a law or an executive order and declare the same void if it is against the Constitution. The 42nd Amendment (1976) restricted this power to state laws within its preview, but the 43rd Amendment (1977) restored the jurisdiction of the High Court to include State and Union laws and orders as well.

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