High Court: Organization, Powers and functions

The India High Courts Act 1861 was enacted to create High Courts for various provinces and abolished Supreme Courts at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay and also the Sadar Adalats in Presidency towns. These High Courts had the distinction of being the highest Courts for all cases till the creation of Federal Court of India, which was established under the Government of India Act 1935.

Art-214 of the constitution provides that, “There shall be a High Court for each state” Art-231 further provides that , “Parliament may by law establish a common High court for two or more states and a union territory.” At present for example there is a common High court for the states of punjab, Haryana and Union Territory of Chandigarh. Similarly. There is Common High court for Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mijoram.

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 of two or more such Courts in succession;

A High Court judge may be removed before he or she attains the age of 62 years, only on the ground of incapacity or proved misbehaviour. He or she may be removed if both the Houses of Parliament adopt a resolution by a majority of their total membership and by two thirds majority of members present and voting, separately in each House in the same session. Such a resolution is submitted to the President, who then can remove the concerned judge.

The jurisdiction of the High court can basically be divided into-

(a) Original Jurisdiction and  (b) Appellate Jurisdiction

(a) Original Jurisdiction:The original jurisdiction of the High Courts is very limited.

(i) Cases related to Fundamental rights.(Can even issue writs for legal rights)

(ii) Constitutional jurisdiction.

(iii) Power of judicial review

(iv) The cases related to matters such as will, divorce, contempt of court.

(v) Election disputes.

(b) Appellate Jurisdiction:When a High Court hears an appeal against the decision of a lower court, it is called Appellate Jurisdiction.The High Court can hear appeals against the decisions of the lower Courts in the following cases:

(i) Civil cases

(ii) Appeals in revenue cases against the decision of the revenue board.

(iii) In cases related to succession,insolvency, patent, Design etc.

2. appeal in criminal cases-

(i) If the session judge has awarded imprisionment for seven year or more.

 (ii) where the session judge has awarded capital punishment.

3. Constitutional Cases– if the high court certify that perticular cases is fit for appeal before itself and involves a substantial question of law.

Administrative powers

  1. It supervises and superintends the working of all the courts subordinate to it.
  2. It makes rules and regulations for the court subordinate to it and cun change such law.
  3. It can transfer any case from one court to another court
  4. It can investigate or enquire in to the record or anotherconnected documentsof any court subordinate to it.
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