Independence of SC
- August 30, 2020
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Supreme Court is in news for various issues.
- The Supreme Court has been assigned a very significant role in the Indian democratic political system. It is a federal court, the highest court of appeal, the guarantor of the fundamental rights of the citizens and guardian of the Constitution. Therefore, its independence becomes very essential for the effective discharge of the duties assigned to it. It should be free from the encroachments, pressures and interferences of the executive (council of ministers) and the Legislature (Parliament). It should be allowed to do justice without fear or favour.
- The Constitution has made the following provisions to safeguard and ensure the independent and impartial functioning of the Supreme Court:
- Mode of Appointment: The judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President (which means the cabinet) in consultation with the members of the judiciary itself (i.e, judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts). This provision curtails the absolute discretion of the executive as well as ensures that the judicial appointments are not based on any political or practical considerations.
- Security of Tenure: The judges of the Supreme Court are provided with the Security of Tenure.They can be removed from office by the President only in the manner and on the grounds mentioned in the Constitution. This means that they do not hold their office during the pleasure of the President,though they are appointed by him. This is obvious from the fact that no judge of the Supreme Court has been removed (or impeached) so far.
- Fixed Service Conditions: The salaries, allowances, privileges, leave and pension of the judges of the Supreme Court are determined from time to time by the Parliament. They cannot be changed to their disadvantage after their appointment except during a financial emergency. Thus, the conditions of service of the judges of the Supreme Court remain same during their term of Office.
- Expenses Charged on Consolidated Fund:The salaries, allowances and pensions of the judges and the staff as well as all the administrative expenses of the Supreme Court are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. Thus, they are non-votable by the Parliament (though they can be discussed by it).
- Conduct of Judges cannot be Discussed: The Constitution prohibits any discussion in Parliament or in a State Legislature with respect to the conduct of the judges of the Supreme Court in the discharge of their duties, except when an impeachment motion is under consideration of the Parliament.
- Ban on Practice after Retirement: The retired judges of the Supreme Court are prohibited from pleading or acting in any Court or before any authority within the territory of India. This ensures that they do not favour any one in the hope of future favour.
- Power to Punish for its Contempt:The Supreme Court can punish any person for its contempt.Thus, its actions and decisions cannot be criticised and opposed by any body. This power is vested in the Supreme Court to maintain its authority, dignity and honour.
- Freedom to Appoint its Staff: The Chief Justice of India can appoint officers and servants of the Supreme Court without any interference from the executive. He can also prescribe their conditions of service.
- Its Jurisdiction cannot be Curtailed: The Parliament is not authorised to curtail the jurisdiction and powers of the Supreme Court. The Constitution has guaranteed to the Supreme Court, jurisdiction of various kinds. However, the Parliament can extend the same.
- Separation from Executive: The Constitution directs the State to take steps to separate the Judiciary from the Executive in the public services. This means that the executive authorities should not possess the judicial powers. Consequently, upon its implementation, the role of executive authorities in judicial administration came to an end.