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Do you know? How many Supreme Courts, High Courts and Subordinate Courts are there in India?

India is a vast and diverse country with a population of over 1.3 billion people. It is also a democratic republic with a federal system of government. The Constitution of India, which came into force on 26 January 1950, is the supreme law of the land. It establishes the structure, functions, powers, and duties of the three organs of the state: the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary.

The judiciary is the branch of government that interprets and applies the law in India. It also acts as the guardian of the Constitution and the protector of the rights and liberties of the people. The judiciary consists of a hierarchy of courts that deal with various types of cases, such as civil, criminal, constitutional, administrative, etc.

But how many supreme courts are there in India? The answer is: only one.

The Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial authority and the final court of appeal in India. It is also known as the apex court or the court of last resort. It has the power to hear and decide cases involving any matter arising under the Constitution or any law made by Parliament or any state legislature. It also has the power to review its own judgments or orders, as well as those of any lower court or tribunal.

The Supreme Court of India is located in New Delhi, the capital city of India. It was established on 26 January 1950, replacing the Federal Court of India, which was set up in 1937 under the Government of India Act 1935. The Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice of India and a maximum of 33 other judges. The President of India appoints the judges on the recommendation of a collegium, which is a group of senior judges headed by the Chief Justice.

The Supreme Court has original, appellate, and advisory jurisdictions. Under its original jurisdiction, it can hear cases involving disputes between the central government and one or more states, or between two or more states, or cases involving the violation of fundamental rights. Under its appellate jurisdiction, it can hear appeals from any judgment or order of any high court or tribunal in civil, criminal, or constitutional matters. Under its advisory jurisdiction, it can give its opinion on any question of law or fact referred to it by the President of India.

The Supreme Court also has some special powers, such as:

  • The power to issue writs for the enforcement of fundamental rights or for any other purpose.
  • The power to transfer cases from one high court to another or from a high court to itself for speedy justice or fair trial.
  • The power to grant special leave to appeal from any judgment or order of any court or tribunal in any matter.
  • The power to declare any law made by Parliament or any state legislature as unconstitutional if it violates the basic structure doctrine.
  • The power to make rules for regulating its own practice and procedure.

The Supreme Court functions with two types of benches: a division bench and a full bench. A division bench consists of two or more judges and hears routine cases. A full bench consists of at least five judges and hears important cases involving constitutional issues or matters of general public importance. Sometimes, a larger bench consisting of seven, nine, eleven, or more judges may be constituted to hear cases involving substantial questions of law.

The Supreme Court is headed by the Chief Justice of India, who is the senior-most judge of the court. He/she is responsible for allocating cases to different benches, appointing acting chief justices for high courts, presiding over full bench hearings, administering oath to new judges and other constitutional functionaries, etc. The Chief Justice also acts as the ex-officio chairman of various bodies, such as:

  • The National Judicial Academy
  • The National Legal Services Authority
  • The General Council of the Bar Council of India
  • The Supreme Court Legal Services Committee
  • The Indian Law Institute

The current Chief Justice of India is Justice Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud, who took office on 9 November 2022. He is the 50th Chief Justice of India.

The High Courts and Subordinate Courts

Below the Supreme Court are the high courts and subordinate courts. There are 25 high courts in India at present (as on December 18, 2020). These are:

S.NoNameYear EstablishedJurisdiction
1Allahabad High Court1866Uttar Pradesh
2Andhra Pradesh High Court2019Andhra Pradesh
3Bombay High Court1862Maharashtra, Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu
4Calcutta High Court1862West Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
5Chhattisgarh High Court2000Chhattisgarh
6Delhi High Court1966Delhi
7Gauhati High Court1948Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh
8Gujarat High Court1960Gujarat
9Himachal Pradesh High Court1971Himachal Pradesh
10Jammu and Kashmir High Court1928Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh
11Jharkhand High Court2000Jharkhand
12Karnataka High Court1884Karnataka
13Kerala High Court1956Kerala, Lakshadweep
14Madhya Pradesh High Court

| 1956 |

Madhya Pradesh |

| 15 |

Madras High Court |

1862 |

Tamil Nadu, Puducherry |

| 16 |

Manipur High Court |

2013 |

Manipur |

| 17 |

Meghalaya High Court |

2013 |

Meghalaya |

| 18 |

Orissa High Court |

1948 |

Odisha |

| 19 |

Patna High Court |

1916 |

Bihar |

| 20 |

Punjab and Haryana High Court |

1947 |

Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh |

| 21 |

Rajasthan High Court |

1949 |

Rajasthan |

| 22 |

Sikkim High Court |

1975 |

Sikkim |

| 23 |

Telangana High Court |

2019 |

Telangana |

| 24 |

Tripura High Court |

2013 |

Tripura |

| 25 |

Uttarakhand High Court

|

2000

|

Uttarakhand

|

The high courts are the top judicial bodies in the states and union territories. They have original, appellate, and supervisory jurisdictions. Under their original jurisdiction, they can hear cases involving the violation of fundamental rights or any matter of substantial public importance. Under their appellate jurisdiction, they can hear appeals from any judgment or order of any subordinate court or tribunal in civil, criminal, or constitutional matters. Under their supervisory jurisdiction, they can issue directions or orders to any subordinate court or tribunal for the administration of justice.

The high courts are headed by the chief justices, who are appointed by the President of India on the recommendation of a collegium. The chief justices are assisted by other judges, who are also appointed by the President on the recommendation of a collegium. The number of judges in each high court varies depending on the workload and population of the state or union territory.

The high courts also have administrative control over the subordinate courts in their respective jurisdictions. The subordinate courts are also known as district courts or lower courts. They are the courts of first instance for most civil and criminal cases in India. They are divided into two categories: civil courts and criminal courts.

The civil courts deal with cases involving disputes over property, contracts, family matters, etc. They are headed by the district judges, who are appointed by the governor of the state on the recommendation of the high court. The district judges are assisted by other civil judges, who are appointed by the governor after passing a judicial service examination conducted by the high court or the state public service commission.

The criminal courts deal with cases involving offences against the state or society, such as murder, theft, rape, etc. They are headed by the sessions judges, who are appointed by the governor of the state on the recommendation of the high court. The sessions judges are assisted by other judicial magistrates, who are appointed by the governor after passing a judicial service examination conducted by the high court or the state public service commission.

The subordinate courts also include some special courts and tribunals that deal with specific matters, such as family courts, consumer courts, labour courts, tax tribunals, etc. These courts and tribunals are established by various laws made by Parliament or state legislatures.

Conclusion

We hope this blog post has helped you understand how many supreme courts are there in India and what are their roles and functions. The Supreme Court of India is the only supreme court in India that has the final authority to decide any legal dispute in India. The high courts and subordinate courts are the other important components of the Indian judicial system that handle various types of cases at different levels. The Indian judiciary is an independent and impartial institution that upholds the rule of law and protects the rights and interests of the people.

If you want to learn more about the Indian judiciary or prepare for competitive exams like UPSC, SSC, etc., you can check out our other blog posts on Indian polity notes, current

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