Criticising Supreme Court Judgment

We may, at this juncture, make it clear that the freedom to criticise the judgments of this Court is not being interfered with.

Lord Atkin’s famous words, in the case of Ambard v. Attorney-General for Trinidad And Tobago, [1936] A.C. 322, come to mind:

“But whether the authority and position of an individual judge, or the due administration of justice, is concerned, no wrong is committed by any member of the public who exercises the ordinary right of criticising, in good faith, in private or public, the public act done in the seat of justice. The path of criticism is a public way: the wrong headed are permitted to err therein: provided that members of the public abstain from imputing improper motives to those taking part in the administration of justice, and are genuinely exercising a right of criticism, and not acting in malice or attempting to impair the administration of justice, they are immune. Justice is not a cloistered virtue: she must be allowed to suffer the scrutiny and respectful, even though outspoken, comments of ordinary men.” (at page 335)

64.  Bonafide criticism of a judgment, albeit of the highest court of the land, is certainly permissible, but thwarting, or encouraging persons to thwart, the directions or orders of the highest court cannot be countenanced in our Constitutional scheme of things. After all, in India’s tryst with destiny, we have chosen to be wedded to the rule of law as laid down by the Constitution of India. Let every person remember that the “holy book” is the Constitution of India, and it is with this book in hand that the citizens of India march together as a nation, so that they may move forward in all spheres of human endeavour to achieve the great goals set out by this “Magna Carta” or Great Charter of India.

65.  The Constitution places a non-negotiable obligation on all authorities to enforce the judgments of this Court. The duty to do so arises because it is necessary to preserve the rule of law. If those whose duty it is to comply were to have a discretion on whether or not to abide by a decision of the court, the rule of law would be set at naught. Judicial remedies are provided to stakeholders before a judgment is pronounced and even thereafter. That, indeed, is how the proceedings in review in the present case have been initiated.

Hence arguments have been addressed, exchanged between counsel and considered with the sense of objectivity and fairness on which the judicial process rests. These remedies within a rule of law framework provide recourse to all those who may be and are affected by the course of a judicial decision.

When the process is complete and a decision is pronounced, it is the decision of the Supreme Court and binds everyone. Compliance is not a matter of option. If it were to be so, the authority of the court could be diluted at the option of those who are bound to comply with its verdicts.  [Kantaru Rajeevaru Vs Indian Young Lawyers Association Thr. its General Secretary And Ors. Minority view]

 

The SC Collegium recommended V. Ramasubramanian, Krishna Murari, S. Ravindra Bhat and Hrishikesh Roy, as SC judges

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Re: Filling up vacancies of Judges in the Supreme Court.

Against the sanctioned Judge-strength of thirty-four, the Supreme Court of India is presently functioning with thirty Judges, leaving four clear vacancies.
The Collegium has extensively deliberated and discussed names of Chief Justices and senior puisne High Court Judges eligible for appointment as Judges of the Supreme Court and has resolved to fill up all the four existing vacancies.
The Collegium considers that the following four persons are more deserving and suitable in all respects than other Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges of High Courts, for being appointed as Judges of the Supreme Court of India:

Mr. Justice Krishna Murari, Chief Justice, Punjab & Haryana High Court,
(PHC: Allahabad)

Mr. Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, Chief Justice, Rajasthan High Court,
(PHC: Delhi)

Mr. Justice V. Ramasubramanian, Chief Justice, Himachal Pradesh High Court,
(PHC: Madras) and

Mr. Justice Hrishikesh Roy, Chief Justice, Kerala High Court, (PHC: Gauhati).

The Collegium, therefore, unanimously resolves to recommend that Mr. Justice Krishna Murari, Mr. Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, Mr. Justice V. Ramasubramanian, and Mr. Justice Hrishikesh Roy, be appointed as Judges in the Supreme Court of India.

While recommending the names of Mr. Justice Krishna Murari, Mr. Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, Mr. Justice V. Ramasubramanian, and Mr. Justice Hrishikesh Roy, the Collegium has taken into consideration combined seniority on all-India basis of Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges of High Courts, apart from their competence, conduct and integrity.

The Collegium has also kept in mind the desirability of giving due representation on the Bench of the Supreme Court, as far as possible, to all the High Courts. The Collegium is also conscious of the fact that some High Courts are going to be unrepresented in the Supreme Court.

Mr. Justice Krishna Murari was appointed as Judge of the Allahabad High Court on 7 th January, 2004 and was elevated as Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court on nd June, 2018. He stands at Sl. No.5 in the combined seniority of High Court Judges on all-India basis. In the seniority of Judges hailing from Allahabad High Court, Mr. Justice Krishna Murari stands at Sl. No.1. While recommending his name, the Collegium is conscious of the fact that on appointment of Mr. Justice Krishna Murari, there will be three Judges on the Bench of the Supreme Court from the Allahabad High Court, which has the distinction of being the largest High Court in the country.
Mr. Justice S. Ravindra Bhat was appointed as Judge of the Delhi High Court on 16th July, 2004 and was elevated as Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court on 5 th May, 2019. He stands at Sl. No.12 in the combined seniority of High Court Judges on all-India basis. While recommending the name of Mr. Justice Bhat, the Collegium is conscious of the fact that in the seniority of Judges hailing from Delhi High Court, he stands at Sl. No.3 and that on his appointment, there will be three Judges on the Bench of the Supreme Court from the Delhi High Court, which has the special status of being the High Court of the national capital.

Mr. Justice V. Ramasubramanian was appointed as Judge of the Madras High Court on 31st July, 2006 and after serving as Judge, on transfer, in the common High Court for the States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and thereafter in the Telangana High Court, was elevated as Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court on 22nd June, 2019. He stands at Sl. No.42 in the combined seniority of High Court Judges on all-India basis. While recommending the name of Mr. Justice Ramasubramanian, the Collegium is conscious of the fact that in the seniority of Judges hailing from Madras High Court, he stands at Sl. No.2 and that on his appointment, there will be two Judges on the Bench of the Supreme Court from the Madras High Court, which is the fourth largest High Court in the country.

Mr. Justice Hrishikesh Roy was appointed as Judge of the Gauhati High Court on 12 th October, 2006 and was elevated as Chief Justice of Kerala High Court on 8 th August, 2018. He stands at Sl. No.46 in the combined seniority of High Court Judges on all-India basis. In the seniority of Judges hailing from Gauhati High Court, Mr. Justice Hrishikesh Roy stands at Sl. No.1. While recommending his name, the Collegium is conscious of the fact that on appointment of Mr. Justice Hrishikesh Roy, there will be two Judges on the Bench of the Supreme Court from the Gauhati High Court but that will be for a very short duration as one of them (Chief Justice of India)
would be demitting office in November, 2019.

In view of the foregoing, the Collegium resolves to recommend that appointments be made in the following order:

  1. Mr. Justice Krishna Murari,
  2. Mr. Justice S. Ravindra Bhat,
  3. Mr. Justice V. Ramasubramanian, and
  4. Mr. Justice Hrishikesh Roy.

( Ranjan Gogoi ), CJI.
( S.A. Bobde ), J.
( N.V. Ramana ), J.
( Arun Mishra ), J.
( R.F. Nariman ), J.

New Delhi,
August 28, 2019.

Current Supreme Court Decisions

LATEST SUPREME COURT JUDGMENTS

The Supreme Court of India

Supreme Court has been laid down  guidelines for listing of urgent matters during   vacation from 13.5.2019 to 30.6.2019

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA JUDGMENTS

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
New Delhi, May 9, 2019

F.No.14/Judl./2019        

CIRCULAR

  1. It is hereby notified for the information of all concerned that the following
    norms/guidelines have been laid down for listing of urgent matters during
    the ensuing vacation viz. from 13.5.2019 to 30.6.2019 :

Every   matter   to   be   moved   before   vacation   Court   should   be
accompanied by an affidavit, indicating all the material facts necessary for
the formation of opinion about its urgency. The required material facts and
particulars should invariably include:

i) The nature of the matter;
ii) The date of the impugned order, if any;
iii) The reason for not filing it before the vacation, if the impugned order
was made or the cause of action arose on an earlier date;
iv) The latest date upto which the matter can be heard in view of the
urgency indicated therein; and
v) The nature of interim order sought for which the urgency is indicated
must be mentioned.

No matter shall be entertained and considered for listing before the
Hon’ble Vacation Judges unless it is, inter alia, accompanied by such an
affidavit which is sufficient to indicate the urgency for its being heard by the
Hon’ble Vacation Judges.

2. The following matters shall be treated as matters of urgent nature for listing 
during the vacation :

1. Matters in which death penalty has been awarded;
2. The petition for Habeas Corpus and matters relating to it;
3. Matters relating to imminent apprehension of demolition of property;
4. Matters relating to dispossession/eviction;
5. Matters relating to and of general public importance;
6. Matters for anticipatory bail and matters filed against orders­refusing/
`  granting bail;

3. The following matters shall not be treated as matters of urgent nature for 
listing during vacation :

1. Matters arising out of interlocutory orders;
2. Matters relating to remand orders;
3. Matters relating to pre­deposit of tax, penalty etc., under specified
statutes;
4. Matters arising out of life sentence or sentences for more than one
year;
5. Service matters involving transfer and/or reversion, dismissal and
removal from service;
6. Transport matters, except those relating to cancellation of permits
and needing urgent interim orders;
7. Matters relating to decrees and their execution.

 

It is hereby further notified for the information of all concerned that no
request for listing during vacation will be entertained before 4 p.m. on
Thursday the 9th  May, 2019 and that urgent requests received for listing
from 4 p.m. on Thursday the 9th May, 2019, upto 1 p.m. on Saturday the 11th
May, 2019 will be considered for listing on 13.05.2019 and that all urgent
matters filed from 13.5.2019 upto 4 p.m. on 17.5.2019 will be listed on the
next Monday viz., 20.05.2019 and so on.

(Deepak Jain)                                                       (Surya Pratap Singh)
Registrar (J­II)                                                          Registrar (J­I)
9.5.2019                                                                      9.5.2019

Supreme Court of India on Government Policies

It is not for the Courts to examine the relative merits of different policies, and consider whether a wiser or better one can be evolved. Nor are Courts inclined to strike down a policy merely because it is urged that a different policy would have been fairer or wiser or more scientific or more logical. (BALCO Employees’ Union (Regd.) v. Union of India (2002) 2 SCC 333). It is not in the domain of the Court to embark upon the unchartered ocean of public policy. Greater judicial deference must be shown towards a policy relating to economic activities. The fact that an economic policy may be troubled by crudities, inequities, uncertainties or the possibility of abuse cannot form the basis for striking it down. (Natural Resources Allocation, In Re, Special Reference No.1 OF 2012 (2012) 10 SCC 1; R.K. Garg v. Union of India, (1981) 4 SCC 675). The judiciary cannot engage in an exercise of comparative analysis of the fairness, logical or scientific basis, or wisdom of a policy. The wisdom and advisability of policies are, ordinarily, not amenable to judicial review unless the policies are contrary to statutory or constitutional provisions or is arbitrary or irrational or an abuse of power. (Natural Resources Allocation, In Re, Special Reference No.1 of 2012; Narmada Bachao Andolan). The Court is not the forum where conflicting policy claims may be debated, as it is only required to adjudicate the legality of a measure which has little to do with the relative merits of different economic theories. (Natural Resources Allocation, In Re, Special Reference No.1 of 2012; Rustom Cavasjee Cooper (Banks Nationalisation) v. Union of India (1970) 1 SCC 248).

This Court would not, ordinarily, examine in judicial review proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, policy choices of the Executive. Policy is not static but is dynamic. (T.N. Education Deptt. Ministerial & General Subordinate Services Assn. v. State of T.N. (1980) 3 SCC 97). The Court is called upon to consider the validity of a public policy only when a challenge is made that such policy decision infringes the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India or any other statutory right. (Premium Granites). It is not within the scope of judicial review to embark upon an enquiry as to whether a particular public policy is wise or whether a better public policy can be evolved. The court cannot examine the relative merits of different policies and strike it down merely on ground that another policy would have been fairer and better. (Villianur Iyarkkai Padukappu Maiyam).

 If the policy cannot be faulted on grounds of malafides, unreasonableness, arbitrariness or unfairness, the mere fact that it would hurt business interests does not justify invalidating the policy. Courts should not express their opinion whether, at a particular point of time or in a particular situation, any such policy should have been adopted or not. It is best left to the discretion of the State. (Ugar Sugar Works Ltd. v. Delhi Admn. (2001) 3 SCC 635). No direction can be given or expected from the Court regarding the “correctness” of an executive policy unless, while implementing such policies, there is infringement or violation of any constitutional or statutory provision. (Ugar Sugar Works Ltd). The Court would not substitute its opinion for that of the policy makers, and would defer to the wisdom of those who are entrusted with the task of framing the policies. (Centre for Public Interest Litigation v. Union of India (2000) 8 SCC 606).

 It is neither desirable nor advisable for the Court to direct or sermonise the Government to adopt a particular policy which it deems fit or proper, as it does not have effective means to decide which alternative, out of the many competing ones, is the best in the circumstances. (State of Jharkhand v. Ashok Kumar Dangi (2011) 13 SCC 383). In respect of public policies of the Government, the Court should not become the authority to accord approval. When two or more options or views are possible, and after considering them the Government takes a policy decision, it is then not the function of the Court to examine the matter afresh or sit in appeal over such a policy decision. (Narmada Bachao Andolan; BALCO Employees’ Union (Regd.). While the Court may even review the policy of the executive if it is clearly demonstrated that such policy is contrary to any statutory provision or the Constitution, it cannot consider the relative merits of different policies and decide for itself whether a wiser or a better policy can be evolved. (Statewide Recognised (RTA) Agents Welfare Association v. Govt. of A.P. 2003(3) ALD 212 (DB).

 Article 14 cannot be interpreted in a doctrinaire or dogmatic manner. Excessive interference by the judiciary in the functions of the executive is not proper. In view of the inherent complexities involved in modern society, some free play must be given to the executive. (Transport and Dock Workers Union; Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Co. v. May 48 Rs. Ed 971; Aravali Golf Club v. Chander Hass (2008) 1 SCC 683). If a decision has been taken in a bona fide manner, although not strictly following the norms laid down by Courts, such decisions are upheld on the principle that Courts, while judging the validity of executive policy decisions, must grant certain measure of freedom or “play in the joints” to the executive. (Sterling Computers Ltd.). The Government has, while taking a policy decision, the right to ‘trial and error’ as long as both trial and error are bona fide and within the limits of authority. (BALCO Employees’ Union (Regd.); Netai Bag; Ram Singh Vijay Pal Singh).

Statutory Appeals Before the Indian Supreme Court

Statutory appeals as provided by Special Acts :

(i) Section 35 (L) of the Central Excise Act, 1944 (1 of 1944);
(ii) Section 116A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951);
(iii) Section 38 of the Advocates Act, 1961 (25 of 1961);
(iv) Section 261 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961) before the establishment
of National Tax Tribunal;
(v) Section 130E of the Customs Act, 1962 (52 of 1962);
(vi) Section 19 (1) (b) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 (70 of 1971);
(vii) Section 374 and Section 379 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974)
read with Section 2 of Supreme Court (Enlargement of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction) Act, 1970 (28 of 1970);
(viii) Section 23 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (68 of 1986);
(ix) Section 19 of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act,
1987 (28 of 1987);
(x) Section 10 of the Special Courts (Trial of Offences relating to Transactions in
Securities) Act, 1992 (27 of 1992);
(xi) Section 15Z of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 (15
of 1992);
(xii) Section 18 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 (24 of 1997);
(xiii) Section 53T of the Competition Act, 2002 (12 of 2003);
(xiv) Section 125 of the Electricity Act, 2003 (36 of 2003);
(xv) Section 24 of the National Tax Tribunal Act, 2005 (49 of 2005);
(xvi) Section 30 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007 (55 of 2007);
(xvii) Section 37 of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act, 2006 (19 of
2006);
(xviii) Section 31 of the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008
(27 of 2008);
(xix) Section 22 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (19 of 2010);
(xx) Section 423 of the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013);
(xxi) Section 38 of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority
Act, 2013 (23 of 2013);
(xxii) Section 21 of the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and
Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 (22 of 2015);
(xxiii) Section 62 and 182 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (31 of
2016);
(xxiv) Section 118 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (12 of 2017).

 

Super-Supreme Court

Hon’ble Supreme Court in Vishnu Awatar Vs. Shiv Autar and Others[AIR 1980 SC 1575 : (1980) 4 SCC 81 : (1980)], has held as under:

After all, our District Courts are easier of access for litigants, and the High Courts, especially in large States like Uttar Pradesh, are ‘untouchable’ and ‘unapproachable’ for agrestic populations and even urban middle classes. Nor is there ground to distrust the District Judges. A hierarchy of courts built upon a heritage of disbelief in inferiors has an imperial flavour. If we suspect a Munsif and put a District Judge over him for everything he does, if we distrust a district Judge and vest the High Court with pervasive supervision, if we be skeptical about the High Courts and watch meticulously over all their orders, the System will break down as its morale will crack up. A psychic communicable disease of suspicion, skepticism and servility cannot make for the health of the judicial system. If the Supreme Court has a super-Supreme Court above it, it is doubtful whether many of its verdicts will survive, judging by the frequency with which it differs from itself.

Appeal to Supreme Court of India

Article 132 deals with the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in cases involving a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution, and the words used in that article are:”appeal… from any judgment, decree or final order.” Article 133 deals with special in civil matters and the same words are used here also. Article 134 deals with appeals in criminal matters, and the words used in it are:”appeal…. from any judgment, final order or sentence.” In Art. 136, the words “judgment” and “decree”, which are used in Art.132 and 133 are retained. Similarly, the word’s “judgment” and……”sentence” occurring in Art. 134 are also retained. But the expression “final order” becomes “order”, and instead of the High Court, reference is made to “any Court.” Certain other words are also used in the article which seen to me to have a special significance, these being “determination,” “cause or matter” and “tribunal”. It is obvious that these words greatly widen the scope of Art. 136 They show that an appeal will lie also from a determination or order of “any tribunal” in any cause or matter.

It is well known that a writ of certiorari can issue only against an order of a judicial or quasi-judicial tribunal and if it is permissible for the High Court to issue a writ of certiorari against an industrial tribunal, which fact was not seriously disputed before us, I find it difficult to hold that the tribunal, does not come within the purview of Art. 133. If a subordinate Court acts in excess of its jurisdiction or assumes a jurisdiction which it does not possess the appellate Court can always interfere and do what is contemplated to be done by a writ of certiorari.

It is necessary here to say a few words as to the scope of the appeal. As was pointed out by Supreme Court in Pritam Singh vs. The State, A.I.R. (87) 1950 F.C. 169, the power under Art. 136 of the Constitution busing a special power is to be exercised only in special cases. The rule so laid down is bound to restrict the scope of the appeal in practice in almost all the cases which fall under Art.136. But in some a limitation will be imposed on the scope of the appeal by the very nature of the case and of the tribunal from which an appeal is sought to be brought and a case under the Industrial Disputes Act seems to be an example of such a case.

Again article 124 deals with the establishment and constitution of the Supreme Court. Article 131 confers original jurisdiction on this Court in certain disputes arising between the Government of India and the States, etc. Articles 131 and 133 deal with the appellate jurisdiction of the Court in appeals from High Courts within the territory of India in civil matters. By Art. 134 limited light of appeal in criminal cases has been allowed. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council which was the highest Court of appeal for India prior to 10th October 1940 was not a Court of criminal appeal in the sentence in which this Court has been made a Court of criminal appeal under Art. 134. It could only entertain appeals on the criminal side in exercise of the prerogative of the King. Article 135 empowers this Court to hear all appeals which under existing laws could be heard by the Federal Court of India. By the Abolition of the Privy Council Jurisdiction Act, 1949 which came into force on 10th October 1949 all the powers that were possessed by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in regard to cases or matters arising in India became exercisable by the Federal Court of India whether those powers were exercisable by reason of statutory authority or under the prerogative of the King. The powers of the Judicial Committee were conferred upon it by the Judicial Committee Act, 1844 (7 and 8 vict c. 69). Appeals lay to His Majesty in Council from judgments, sentences, decrees or orders of any Court of justice within any British colony or possession abroad. Closely following Art. 135 which confers all the powers of the Judicial Committee on the Supreme Court comes Art. 136. The language employed in this article is very wide and is of comprehensive character. Powers given are of an overriding nature. The article commences with the words “Notwithstanding anything in this Chapter”. These words indicate that the intention of the Constitution was to disregard in extraordinary cases the limitations contained in the previous article on this Court’s power to entertain appeals. These articles dealt with the right of appeal against final decisions of High Courts within the territory of India. Article 136, however, overrides that qualification and empowers this Court to grant special leave even in case where the judgment has not been given, by a High Court but has been given by any Court in the territory of India; in other words, it contemplates grant of special leave in cases where a Court subordinate to a High Court has passed or made any order and the situation demands that the order should be quashed or reversed even without having recourse to the usual procedure provided by law in the nature of an appeal, etc. The word “order” in Art 136 has not been qualified by the word “final’’. It is clear, therefore, that the power to grant special leave under this article against an order of a Court could be exercised with respect to interlocutory orders also. Another new feature introduced in Art.136 is the power given to grant special leave against orders and determinations etc., of any tribunal in the territory of India. This word did not find place in the Judicial Committee’s Act, where the phrase used was “a Court of justice”. It is the introduction of this new expression in Art.136 that has led to considerable argument as to its scope. Another expression that did not find place in the Judicial Committee Act but has been introduced in Art.136 is the word ‘determination”. A question has been raised as to the meaning to be given to these words in the article. On the one hand, it was contended that the words “determination” and “tribunal” were introduced in the article in order to bring within the scope of the appellate jurisdiction of this Court all orders of tribunals of different varieties and descriptions. On the other hand, it was said that the words ‘‘determination” and “tribunal” were added in the article by way of abundant caution and the intention was that if a tribunal exercised the judicial powers of the State and the decisions passed in the exercise of that power, this Court as the highest judicial Court in the Republic would have power if it considered necessary in the ends of justice to grant special leave. Clause (2)of Ar.136 excluded the jurisdiction of this Court in respect of military Courts or tribunal. It is interesting to observe that in Arts. 138,139 and 140 the Constitution has conferred powers on Parliament for further enlargement of the powers of this Court.

Now two points need to be considered (1)whether the word “Tribunal” in this article has been used in the same sense as ‘‘Court”, or whether it has been used in a wider sense, and (2) whether the word “determination “ in the article includes within its scope the determinations made by industrial tribunals or other similarly constituted bodies or whether it has reference only to determinations of a Court or a tribunal of a purely judicial character. It was conceded by the learned counsel appearing for the Central Government, Mr. Alladoi Krishna. swami Aiyar, that if any tribunal, whether administrative domestic or quasi-judicial, acts in excess of its jurisdiction, then it can be controlled by the High Court under the powers conferred on them by Art. 228 by the issue of a writ of certiorari. It was said that if the industrial tribunal in this case could be proved to have trespassed beyond the limits of its statutory jurisdiction, then the remedy lies elsewhere and not by a petition of special leave under Art. 136. Mr. Alladi’s contentions may be briefly summarized as follows:(1) The expression “tribunal” means seat of a Judge, or a Court of justice. Its necessary attribute is that it can give a final judgment between two parties which carries legal sanction by its own force. That the word “tribunal” in juxtaposition to the word ‘Court’ could only mean a tribunal which exercised judicial functions of the State and did not include within its ambit a tribunal which had quasi-judicial or administrative powers. (2) The kind of orders against which special leave to appeal could be given under Art. 136 have to be of the same nature as passed by a Court; in other words, it was said that unless there was a judicial determination of a controversy between two parties, the order would not be appealable. That in the case of an industrial tribunal what gives binding force to the award is the declaration of the Government, that the spark of life to it is given by that declaration and without that the award of the tribunal is lifeless and has no enforceability and hence cannot be held to be of an appealable nature. It was further said that in case between the Government and its employees by the procedure prescribed in the Act the award could also be rejected and that being so, by its own determination a tribunal could not impose a liability or affect rights. Dr. Bakshi Tek Chand, appearing for the bank, on the other hand argued that whenever a tribunal, whether exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions, determined a matter in a judicial manner, then such a determination is within Art. 136. It was said that an industrial tribunal has no administrative or executive functions, that its duty is to adjudicate on an industrial dispute, i. e., to act as a Judge, on certain kinds of disputes between employers and employees and that its functions are of a judicial nature, though the ambit of the powers conferred is larger than that of an ordinary Court of law inasmuch as it can grant reliefs which no Court of law could give but that is because of the powers conferred on it by law. It was argued that the plain words of the article should not be given a narrow meaning when the intention of the Constitution was to confer the widest power on this Court. It was further contended that as between private employers and employees and even in certain case between Government and its employees the decision of the tribunal was binding on the Government and Government had no power either to affirm, modify or reject it. All that it was authorised to do was to announce it and by its declaration give it enforceability; that fact, however could not affect the question of appealability of the determination under Art. 136. It was finally argued that powers should be exercised by this Court wherever there is a miscarriage of justice by a determination of any tribunal and that if the intention of the Constitution by use of the word “tribunal” was in the same sense as “Court” then it was not necessary to import it in Art. 136, because all tribunals that exercise judicial functions fall within the definition of the word “Court” though they may not have been so described.

By Art. 32 of the Constitution, the Court is empowered to see that the fundamental rights conferred on the citizens by the Constitution are not in any way affected. By Art. 126 it has been given overriding power to grant special leave to appeal against orders of Court and tribunals which go against the principles of natural justice and lead to grave miscarriage of justice. The exercise of these powers could only have been contemplated in cases which affect the right of people living within the territory of India in respect of their person, property or status. The question, therefore, for consideration is whether the jurisdiction conferred by use of unambiguous phraseology and by words which have a plain grammatical meaning and are of the widest amplitude should be limited and restricted on considerations suggested by Mr. Alladi. The construction suggested by the learned counsel, if accepted, would in the first instance make the use of certain words in the article unnecessary and redundant and would run counter to the spirit of the Constitution. It must be presumed that the draftsmen of the Constitution knew well the fact that there were number of tribunals constituted in this country previous to the coming into force of the Constitution which were performing certain administrative quasi-judicial or domestic functions, that some of them had even the trappings of a Court but in spite of those trappings could not be given that description. It must also be presumed that the constitution makers were aware of the fact that the highest Courts in this country had held that all tribunals that discharged judicial functions fell within the definition of the expression “Court.” If by the use of the word “tribunal” in Art. 136 the intention was to give it the same meaning as “Court,” then it was redundant and unnecessary to import it in the article because, by whatever name described, such a tribunal would fall within the definition of the word “Court.” The word “Court” has a well-known meaning in legislative history and practice.

 As pointed out in Halsbury’s Laws of England, the word “Court” originally meant the King’s Palace but subsequently acquired the meaning of, (1) a place where justice was administers and (2) the person or persons who administer it. In the Evidence Act, it is defined as including all Judges and Magistrates and all persons except arbitrators legally authorised to take evidence. This definition is by no means exhaustive and has been framed only for the purposes of the Act. There can be no doubt that to be a Court, the person or persons who constitute it must be entrusted with judicial functions, that is, of deciding litigated questions according to law. However, by agreement between parties arbitrators may be called upon to exercise judicial powers and to decide a dispute according to law but that would not make the arbitrators a Court. It appears to me that before a person or persons can be said to constitute a Court, it must be held that they derive their powers from the State and are exercising the judicial powers of the State. In R.v. London Country Council (1931) 2 K.B. 215:(100 L.J. K.B. 760), Savilla L.J. gave the following meaning to the word “Court” or “judicial authority”:

“It is not necessary that it should be a Court in the sense that this Court is a Court ; it is enough if it is exercising, after hearing evidence, judicial functions in the sense that it has to decide on evidence between a proposal and an opposition; and it is not necessary to be strictly a Court ; if it is a tribunal which has to decide rightly after hearing evidence and application.”

As pointed out  by Lord Sankey L.C. in Shell Cc. of Australia vs. Federal Commissioner of Taxation, (1931) A.C. 275:(100 LJ P.C. 55), there are tribunals with many of the trappings of a Court which, nevertheless, are not Courts in the strict sense of exercising judicial power. It seems to me that such tribunals though they are not full-fledged Courts, yet exercise quasi-judicial functions are within the ambit of the word “tribunal’ in Art.136 of the Constitution. It was pointed out in the above case that a tribunal is not necessarily a Court in this strict sense because it gives a final decision, nor because it hears witnesses on oath, nor because two or more contending parties appear before it between whom it has to decide, not because it gives decisions which affect the rights of subjects nor because there is an appeal to a Court, nor because it is a body to which a matter is referred by another body. The intention of the Constitution by the use of the word “tribunal” in the article seems to have been to include within the scope of Art. 136 tribunals adorned with similar trappings as Court but strictly not coming within that definition.