In news– The Supreme Court of India has recently observed the 73rd anniversary of its establishment.
History of the Supreme Court-
- On the January 28, 1950, two days after India became a sovereign democratic republic, the Supreme Court of India came into being.
- The inauguration took place in the Chamber of Princes in the Parliament building which was the home to the Federal Court of India for 12 years preceding the Supreme Court’s establishment.
- The Federal Court of India was a judicial body, established in India in 1937 under the provisions of the Government of India Act 1935, with original, appellate and advisory jurisdiction.
- It functioned until the Supreme Court of India was established in 1950.
- The Parliament House was to be the home of the Supreme Court for years that were to follow until the court acquired its own present building with lofty domes and its signature spacious colonnaded verandas in 1958.
- The inaugural proceedings on the 28th began at 9.45 a.m. when the Judges of the Federal Court – Chief Justice Harilal J.Kania and Justices Saiyid Fazl Ali, M. Patanjali Sastri, Mehr Chand Mahajan, Bijan Kumar Mukherjea and S.R.Das took their seats.
- In attendance were the Chief Justices of the High Courts of Allahabad, Bombay, Madras, Orissa, Assam, Nagpur, Punjab, Saurashtra, Patiala and the East Punjab States Union, Mysore, Hyderabad, Madhya Bharat, and Travancore-Cochin.
- Along with the Attorney General for India, M.C. Setalvad were present the Advocate Generals of Bombay, Madras, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, East Punjab, Orissa, Mysore, Hyderabad, and Madhya Bharat.
- Present too, were the Prime Minister, other Ministers, Ambassadors and diplomatic representatives of foreign States, a large number of senior and other advocates of the Court, and other distinguished visitors.
- The inaugural proceedings ensured that the rules of the court were published and the names of all the advocates and agents of the Federal Court were brought on the rolls of the Supreme Court.
- In 1958, when the court shifted its premises, the building was shaped to project the image of scales of justice, in the central wing.
- In 1979, two new wings – the East wing and the West wing – were added to the complex.
- In all, there are 19 Courtrooms in the various wings of the building. The Chief Justice’s Court is the largest of the Courts located at the Centre of the Central Wing.
- The original Constitution of 1950 envisaged a Supreme Court with a Chief Justice and 7 puisne judges – leaving it to Parliament to increase this number.
- In the early years, all the judges of the Supreme Court sat together to hear the cases presented before them.
- As the work of the Court increased and arrears of cases began to accumulate, Parliament increased the number of Judges from 8 in 1950 to 11 in 1956, 14 in 1960, 18 in 1978, 26 in 1986, 31 in 2009, and 34 in 2019 (current strength).
- As the number of Judges has increased, they sit in smaller benches of two and three coming together in larger benches of 5 and more only when required to do so or to settle a difference of opinion or controversy.
Note: 2023 event was aired on social media platforms and saw Singapore’s Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, who is of Indian origin, as the chief guest.