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Indian Polity / Judiciary

Powers and Functions of High Court in India


    Articles 214 - 232 deal with composition, powers and functions of high court in India. According Article 214, there shall be one High Court for each state. However, according to Article 231, a common High Court may be created for two or more than two states. The Parliament of India may create a common High court for 2 or more than 2 states.

    Composition of High Court in India

    The High Court of a State shall consist of one Chief Justice and such number of other judges as fixed by President of India from time to time. Chief Justice of High Court and remaining judges are being appointed by the President. While appointing the Chief Justice, President of India consults Chief Justice of Supreme Court and the Governor of that State. While appointing other judges of High Court, President consults Chief Justice of Supreme Court, Chief Justice of that High Court, Governor of the State concerned and two other judges of Supreme Court who know the affairs of that State High Court. Apart from regular Judges, President can appoint additional judges for a term of two years. Governor or some person appointed on behalf by him, administers the oath of Chief Justice and other judges.

    They are removed like that of judges of the Supreme Court. High Court Chief Justice and other judges will address their resignation to the President.

    Qualification, Salary and Allowances of Judges of High Court in India

    He should not have completed the age of 62 years. He must be a practicing advocate in High Court or High Courts not less than ten years or he must be a judicial officer in Central or State judicial services for not less than 10 years.

    Salary and the other allowances of the judge of High Court are fixed by the Parliament of India and are charged on the Consolidated Fund of State as mentioned in the 2nd Schedule. However, their pension is charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. This is because judges of High Court including Chief Justice are being transferred from High Court to other High Courts by the President on the advice of Chief Justice of Supreme Court.

    Powers and Functions of State High Court

    • Original Jurisdiction - Original by we mean there are certain types of disputes that are directly taken to the High Court like Matrimonials, Contempt of Court, Revenue cases, Protection of fundamental rights ( which come under concurrent jurisdiction of High Courts and Supreme Court ), all the election disputes relating to Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assembly, Legislative Councils. This is Original Jurisdiction but not final as one can move to Supreme Court. Company laws and disputes, copyrights, patent rights, etc. also come under Original Jurisdiction of High Court.
    • Appellate Jurisdiction - It means Appeals from District courts and Sessions court. Any case can be appealed irrespective of its value. Moreover, the High Court has to endorse or ratify the death penalty given by Sessions court, before it can be executed even if there is no appeal from the convicted person.
    • High Court as a Court of Record - All the judgements of the High Courts will have an evidentiary value or they can be taken as precedence, witness or a case law in the subordinate court. High Courts do not have the power of prospective overruling.
    • High Court does not have any Advisory Jurisdiction.
    • High Court protects the fundamental rights under Article 226 known as High Court Writ Jurisdiction.
    • High Court of a State exercises administrative and judicial control over the lower courts or subordinate courts. Administrative control implies that High Court is to be consulted by the State Government in case of appointments, transfer, promotions and other disciplinary actions relating to judicial officers in the State. Judicial control implies that all the judicial proceedings in the lower courts are under the control of High Court through the Power of Superintendence.
Extra Information

    Common High Courts in India

    • Maharashtra and Goa have a common High Court at Mumbai.
    • Haryana and Punjab are having a common High Court at Chandigarh.
    • All North-East States are having a common High Court at Guwahati.
    • All the Union Territories except Delhi, will come under the jurisdiction of adjoining State's High Courts.

    High Courts not in State Capital

    The following state High Courts are not located at their capital city

    • Madhya Pradesh – Jabalpur ( Benches at Gwalior, Indore )
    • Kerala – Ernakulam.
    • Rajasthan – Jodhpur ( Bench is located at Jaipur )
    • Uttar Pradesh – Allahabad ( Bench is located at Lucknow )
    • Odisha – Cuttak.
    • Chattishgarh – Bilaspur.
    • Uttarakhand – Nainital.