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Report No. 58

The Supreme Court

2.8. The Supreme Court, in our Constitution, also performs a multiple role, and has jurisdiction much wider than the highest Court of any other country. It is a federal court, in the sense that it is the exclusive arbiter of disputes between the Union and the States or between one State and another. It is the highest constitutional court of the country, not only in its capacity as the protector of fundamental rights as a court of original jurisdiction, but also in its capacity as the final court of appeal in matters involving substantial questions of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution. It is a national court, in the sense that, subject to certain restrictions, appeals lie to it from the judgments of the High Courts on questions pertaining to ordinary law that is to say, even where the question is not one of constitutional law.

The Supreme Court has also certain important varieties of special jurisdiction in particular it has an over-riding power to grant special leave to appeal from any judgment, decree, determination, sentence or order in any cause or matter passed or made by any court or tribunal in territory of India, except any court or tribunal constituted by or under any law relating to the armed forces. The Supreme Court occupied such an the important place in the structure of our Constitution that the Constitution expressly provides that the law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts and authorities in India, and that all authorities, civil and judicial, in the territory of India shall act in aid of the Supreme Court.

Structure and Jurisdiction of the Higher Judiciary Back

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