• System of courts established in India by the Government of India Act 1935
  • India, although a federal country like the USA, has a unified judiciary unlike that of the US. It has one system of fundamental law and justice.
  • Supreme Court of India established in 1950 and succeeded the Federal Court that was established by the Government of India Act 1935
  • Articles 124 to 147 deal with the organization, independence, jurisdiction, powers, procedures and so on for the Supreme Court.
  • Controversy over Consultation:
    • Three Judges Case which highlight and give historical background of this controversy
      • First Judges Case (1982)
        • SC held that consultation does not mean concurrence and it only implies exchange of views
      • Second Judges Case (1993)
        • Reversed the previous ruling and changed the meaning of the word consolation to concurrency
        • Hence it ruled that the advice tendered by the CJI to the President of India is binding in matters of appointment of judges of the SC
        • But the CJI must consult with two of his senior most colleagues in such matter
      • Third Judges Case (1998)
        • The SC opined that the process of consultation involves “consolation of plurality judges” by the CJI and CJI’s opinion alone cannot be constitutional
        • Hence, the CJI must consult with the collegium of four senior most judges of the SC and if the judges give an adverse opinion, she must not send it to President as a recommendation.
      • Appointment of the CJI
        • The senior most judge of the Supreme Court must be appointed as the CJI by the government
        • Two instances where this didn’t happen:
          • 1973 when AN Ray was appointed the CJI superseding three other judges in the SC – all the 3 judges resigned
          • 1977 when MU Beg was appointed as the CJI superseding the then senior most judge.

 

The second Judges case in 1993 curtailed this by where it ruled that only the senior most judge of the Supreme Court must become the CJI of India.