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Report No. 95

1.2. Constitutional adjudication and its importance.-

Detailed reasons for embarking upon an inquiry of this nature will be set out in due course.1 At this stage, it will be sufficient to state that the topic has been taken up for consideration in view of the growing importance that constitutional adjudication has assumed in the country. Any perceptive student of the pattern of litigation that has come up before the Supreme Court in the last decade, and of the nature of questions that fall for consideration in such controversies, would agree that in point of both quality and quantity, constitutional adjudication has come to acquire a status of its own. It is not that this development was not anticipated by the framers of the Constitution.

They did ensure that a question relating to interpretation of the Constitution must be allowed to find its way to the Supreme Court, whatever be the nature of the controversy or the branch of litigation in which the question might have arisen. They did ensure that in the Supreme Court, the minimum number of Judges who shall sit together for hearing and deciding such questions shall be five. They did see to it that that part of the Constitution which deals with the distribution of sovereignty between the Centre and the States, must receive an authoritative interpretation from the Supreme Court, and that if such a, controversy happens to arise between the Centre and the States or States inter se, the dispute should be settled only by the Supreme Court, if there be a justiciable dispute.

They further did take care to provide that so much of the Constitution as confers fundamental rights on the citizens and (in certain cases) even on a non-citizen, should be capable of being enforced by appropriate proceedings before the Supreme Court. In short, the Constitution makers did manifest an anxiety that a constitutional controversy should, in some form or other, come up before the Supreme Court, and should, in that forum, receive consideration at the hands of a minimum number of judges.

1. Chapter 3, infra.

Constitution Division within the Supreme Court Back

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