73rd anniversary of the Supreme Court

Prelims level : Judiciary Mains level : GS-II Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
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Why in News? 

  • This year, the court is hosting the first-ever celebration of its anniversary with Singapore Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon as chief guest. The Supreme Court was established on January 28, 1950, two days after the Constitution.

A brief overview of India’s Supreme Court:

  • The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial body in the country and was established in 1950 after India gained independence from British rule. It evolved from the Federal Court of India, which was established in 1937.

How has the Supreme Court changed over the years?

  • The number of judges: The original Constitution envisaged a Supreme Court with a Chief Justice and 7 puisne judges – leaving it to Parliament to increase this number.
  • Currently, there are 32 judges (including the Chief Justice) (maximum possible strength is 34)
  • Sittings: In the early years, all the judges of the Supreme Court sat together to hear the cases presented before them.
  • As the number of cases has increased, the SC sit in smaller benches of two and three– coming together in larger benches of 5 and more only when required to do so.
  • Expansion of its jurisdiction: Over the years, the Supreme Court has expanded its jurisdiction, taking on an increasingly active role in public interest litigation and providing judicial remedies for a wide range of social and economic issues.

Significance of SC: 

  • Final appellate court
  • Defender of the Constitution: The Supreme Court is the ultimate interpreter of the Indian Constitution
  • Leader in the development of public interest litigation in India, allowing citizens to bring cases to the court to address issues of public concern.
  • Political Stability: It serves as a check on the power of the government and other institutions, helping to ensure political stability and the rule of law in the country
  • Defender of rights: It has also established itself as a defender of the rights of marginalized groups, including women, children, and religious and ethnic minorities.

Limitations of SC: 

  • Case backlog, shortage of judges, staff, and funding, Political pressure, and Difficulty in enforcing judgments.
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