High Courts – India

Indian High court act, 1861

High courts established at Calcutta, Bombay & Madras. Constitution states that there shall be HC in every state, but, parliament has the power to establish a common HC for 2 or more states (At present 24 HC for 29 states & 7 UTs).

  • Strength of HC is flexible (Unlike SC – which can be increased by parliament)
  • President may from time to time appoint judges of HC, keeping in view amount of work before HC


Appointment of High Court Judges

  • Initiation of proposal for appointment of judges of HC must invariably be made by CJ of that HC
  • Appointment is made with respect to recommendations of NJAC

Composition of the NJAC – 6 members

  • Chief Justice of India (Chairperson, ex officio)
  • Two other senior judges of the Supreme Court next to the Chief Justice of India – ex officio
  • The Union Minister of Law and Justice, ex-officio
  • Two eminent persons (one of which would be from the SC or ST or OBC or Minority communities or a woman ), for 3 yrs, not eligible for re-nomination, to be nominated by a committee consisting of :
  • Chief Justice of India
  • Prime Minister of India
  • Leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha ( where there is no such Leader of Opposition, then, the Leader of single largest Opposition Party in Lok Sabha)

Functions of the Commission

  • Recommending persons to president for appointment as
  • Chief Justice of India,
  • Judges of the Supreme Court,
  • Chief Justices of High Courts and other Judges of High Courts.
  • Recommending transfer of Chief Justices and other Judges of High Courts from one High Court to any other High Court
  • Ensuring that the persons recommended are of ability and integrity


Appointment of Acting CJ, Additional Judges & Ad Hoc Judges – High Court

Appointment of acting CJ By President if CJ is ill or incapable to serve
 Appointment of additional judges Duly qualified persons as additional judges , for a period of not extending 2 years (when President thinks that there is temporary increase in business of HC)
Ad hoc judges CJ of HC with prior permission to President may request retired HC judges to sit & act as a judge of HC for a temporary period


Tenure of High Court Judges

  • 62 Years
  • Any dispute regarding the age of judge of HC is decided by President in consultation with CJ of India


Removal of High Court Judges

  • HC judge can resign by writing to President; or
  • By same removal process as in case of SC judges


Salary of High Court Judges

  • CJ 90,000
  • Others 80,000
  • From consolidated fund of State


Oath before Governor (Unlike before President as in case of Supreme Court)


Qualification for High Court Judges

  • Must be citizen of India
  • Must have held a judicial office in territory of India for atleast 10 years or
  • Must have been an advocate of HC in succession for 10 years


After retirement a judge of HC can not plead in a court or before any authority in India except in SC or HC other than in which he held office


Jurisdiction of High Court

Original Jurisdiction

  • In civil cases with amount > 2000
  • In criminal cases, authorised to them by President Magistrates


Appellate Jurisdiction

  • All HCs entertain appeals in civil & criminal cases from their subordinate courts.
  • They have, however, no jurisdiction over tribunals established by the law relating to armed forces of the country


Writ Jurisdiction

  • Jurisdiction to issue writs under HC is larger than the SC.
  • SC can issue them only where a FR has been infringed whereas a HC can issue them, not only in such cases but also where an ordinary legal right has been infringed


Administrative & supervisory Functions of HC

  • HC supervise & controls the working of courts subordinate to them
  • Frame rules & regulations for transactions of their business
  • For ex. Transfers, Postings, Promotions etc.
  • Not applicable in case of tribunals dealing with armed forces
  • “HC acts as court of records & has power to punish its own contempt”


Public interest litigation (PIL) – Appellate Jurisdiction

  • Right to entertain PIL cases lies with Supreme Court and High Court only.
  • A tool of judiciary to enforce legal & constitutional obligations towards executives & legislatures in interest of public at large
  • Basic aim of PIL is to render justice & help in promotion of well-being of public interest (not of individual’s interest In individual’s case , writ petition for FR)
  • Usually, relief provided by court is in form of directions or order of state including compensation to affected parties


A PIL may also be introduced in a court of law by the court itself (suo motu), rather than the aggrieved party or another third party. It is a result of judicial activism, not mentioned in constitution or any law enacted by Parliament.


State Judiciary

  • High Court
  • System of subordinate courts, with HC at apex

Judiciary India

Subordinate Courts → District Courts
Civil cases District Judges Criminal cases Session Judges
Appointed by Governor in consultation with CJ of HC

Lok Adalat (People’s court)

  • Legal services authority act, 1987 gave Statuary status to Lok Adalats
  • Alternative dispute resolution system developed in India – Works under NALSA
  • To provide speedy & economic justice to weaker sections of the society
  • Focus in Lok adalat is on compromise, When no comprise is reached, matter goes back to the court
  • No advocate, No witnesses examined, No court fee is levied.
  • Resolves cases which have not yet gone to courts or are pending in courts
  • Established at Central, state & district level have their own funds


Revenue courts

  • Land Revenue Important source of income for government
  • Since India is an agrarian country, therefore disputes relating to land revenue are quite common.
  • Each district has separate courts for its land revenue system
  • Every dispute relating to land revenue 1st comes before Tehsildar
  • An appeal against decision of Tehsildar court lies in court of Deputy commissioner /Collector (DM)
  • An appeal against the decision of DM can be made in court of commissioner / Magistrate
  • Further appeal can be made in Board of revenue, which forms highest court of land in revenue matters


Full faith & Credit 

  • Final judgment or orders delivered by civil courts in any part of the territory of India shall be capable of execution anywhere in India
  • Clause only applicable to civil courts not on criminal courts
India Yearbook English India Yearbook Hindi Economic Survey 2017

1 Comment

  1. plz note- HC judges pension comes from Consolidated Fund of India. but salary and allowances from Consolidated Fund of State.

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