The High Court is the highest judicial body in a state. According to Article 214, each State of India shall have a High Court. However, Article 231 also specifies that there can be a joint High Court for two or more states. It is the final interpreter of the constitution. At present, there are 25 High Courts in India, three having charge over more than one State. Amongst the Union Territories Delhi has a High Court of its own. Each High Court shall consist of a Chief Justice and other such judges appointed by the President of India.
As per the Indian Constitution, Articles 214-231 deals with the prerequisites of High Courts in India. It caters for separate high courts for different states, but according to 7th constitutional amendment act, the corresponding high court can be the court for more than one State. Today, we have 21 high courts in the country, which includes three common high courts.
Composition of High courts
- Each high court consists of a Chief Justice and several judges, whose number is defined by the President from time to time.
- As per Article 217, Chief Justice and the President appoints other judges after consulting the Chief Justice of India and the Governor of the State.
Below is the list of the High courts in India
|Kolkata||1862||West Bengal, Andman & Nicobar Islands||Kolkata ( Bench of port Blair)|
|Bombay||1862||Maharastra, Dadar, & Nagar Haveli. Goa, Daman Diu||Mumbai (Bench at Panaji, Aurangabad and Nagpur)|
|Chennai||1862||Tamil Nadu & Pondicherry||Chennai (Bench at Madurai)|
|Allahabad||1866||Utter Pradesh||Allahabad (Bench at Lucknow)|
|Karnataka||1884||Karnataka||Bengaluru (Bench at Dharwad and Gulbarga)|
|Jammu & Kashmir||1928||Jammu & Kashmir||Sri Nagar & Jammu|
|Punjab & Haryana||1947||Punjab, Haryana , Chandigarh||Chandigarh|
|Guwahati||1948||Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh||Guwahati (Bench at Kohima, Aizawl and Itanagar|
|Rajasthan||1949||Rajasthan||Jodhpur ( Bench – Jaipur)|
|Madhya Pradesh||1956||Madhya Pradesh||Jabalpur (Bench –Indore , Gwalior)|
|Kerala||1958||Kerala & Lakshadweep||Ernakulam|
|Himachal Pradesh||1966||Himachal Pradesh||Shimla|
|Andhra Pradesh||2019||Andhra Pradesh||Amravati|
Jurisdiction and powers of the High Court
The powers and Jurisdiction of the High Court can be categorized under the following heads:
1) Original Jurisdiction-
It means that the petitioner can directly go to the High Court and not through appeals. This power is exercised in the following matters.
• Disputes about marriage, law, admiralty divorce, contempt of court etc
• Implementation of fundamental rights (Supreme Court also has this power)
• Cases shifted from another court to itself, which involves a question of law.
2) Writ Jurisdiction-
Article 226 declares that High Court shall have power throughout the territories concerning which it employs Jurisdiction to assign to any person or authority including inapplicable cases, any government, within those territories directions, orders, or writs.
3) Appellate Jurisdiction-
It is assumed that the high court is the first court of appeal.
This power can be listed under two categories-Civil Jurisdiction and Criminal Jurisdiction
In civil cases, its Jurisdiction includes the orders and judgments of the district courts, additional district courts and other subordinate courts.
In criminal cases, its Jurisdiction includes judgments relating to sessions courts and additional sessions court. These cases should be involving imprisonment for more than seven years, confirmation of any death sentence awarded by session court before execution.
4) Power of Superintendence –
The High Court has this power over all courts and tribunals except those dealing with the armed forces functioning in the State. Hence in the exercise of this power it may –
• Call for return from such courts
• May issue general rules and prescribe forms for regulating the practice and proceedings of such courts
• Prescribe how the officers of any court are keeping books and accounts
• Settle fees payable to the sheriff clerks, officers and legal practitioners
The constitution does not place any restriction on this power of superintendence over the subordinate courts; it is not only utilizing appeal by the person, but it can also be a suo motto. It is of the nature of revision as it verifies the earlier judgments. In this regard, it is considered as a particular function as the Supreme Court has no similar power vis a vis the High Court.
5) Control over Subordinate Courts –
This is an extension of the above supervisory and appellate Jurisdiction. It states that the High Court can draw a case pending before any subordinate court if it involves the substantial question of law. The case can be disposed of itself or solve the problem of law and return to the same court. In the second case, the opinion rendered by the High court would be binding on the subordinate court. It also deals with matters about posting promotion, the grant of leave, transfer and discipline of the members therein. In this regard, it appoints officers and servants to be made by Chief Justice or such other judge of the High Court as the Chief Justice may direct.
6) Court of Record –
It involves the recording of judgments, proceedings and acts of high courts to be recorded for the lasting memory. These records cannot be further questioned in any court. Based on this record, it has the power to punish for the contempt of court either with simple imprisonment or with fine or both.
7) Judicial Review –
This power of the High Court includes the ability to examine the constitutionality of legislative and executive orders of both central and State government. It is to be noted that the word judicial review is nowhere mentioned in our constitution, but Article 13 and 226 explicitly provide High Court with this power.
8) Extension of Jurisdiction of High Court to Union Territories –
Parliament by law may extend the Jurisdiction of a High Court to or exclude the Jurisdiction of a high court from any union territory.