Powers of High Court in India

The High Court occupies a very important and critical position in the judicial system of India. Article 214 of the Indian constitution provide that “There shall be a High Court in each State.” Two or more states also may have a common High Court.

A High Court consists of a Chief Justice and such other judges as the President may appoint. The President appoints the judges of the High Courts in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, the Governor of the concerned state and in the case appointment of a Judge other than the Chief Justice, with the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court.

To be appointed as a Judge of High Court, a person should be (a) a citizen of India, (b) has been a Judge in a lower court for at least 10 years, or (c) has been an advocate for at least 10 years, in a High Court, and (d) is an eminent jurist in the opinion of the President.

A Judge of a High Court remains in office up to 62 years of life. The Judge holds office, during good behaviour. He may vacate his office through resignation; he may be appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court or may be moved to another High Court. A Judge may be removed for proved incapacity or misbehavior. The procedure of impeachment of a High Court Judge is the same as the procedure of Impeachment of a Supreme Court Judge.

In terms of Article 227, a High Court has the power of superintendence and control over all courts and tribunals within its jurisdiction except military tribunals. It may call for returns from all courts under it. It also frames rules and regulations guiding judicial practice in courts. The constitution empowers the High Court to withdraw a case from a lower court and try the case itself, if it involves substantial question of law. Superior Judges like the District Judge, Sessions Judge etc are appointed by the Governor in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court.

The High Court has been vested with wide powers to try civil and criminal cases. It has original and appellate jurisdiction in both types of cases. Needless to say those cases of very high claims or very serious crimes are tried in the original side of High Court.

The High Court has given the right to issue writs for the protection of fundamental rights of the citizens under Articles 32 and 226. The competence of the High Court in this field is larger than that of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court can issue writs only in Cases of infringement of fundamental rights. But the High Court can issue writs also in cases of infringement of ordinary legal rights.

The High Court enjoys a pivotal position in the judicial system of India. It serves at the only link between the Supreme Court of India which is the only All India Court, and the State Courts.