High Court in India UPSCHigh Court in India UPSC

High courts serve as lower courts in India’s judicial hierarchy than the Supreme Court. A high court and a system of lower courts make up the state’s judicial system. When the high courts were established in Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras in 1862, the High Court institution was born in India.
According to the Indian Constitution, there is a high court for each state, but the Parliament has the power to establish a common high court for two or more states. A state’s territory and a high court’s territorial jurisdiction are contiguous. Moreover, the Parliament has the authority to increase or decrease a high court’s jurisdiction over a Union Territory.

Organization of a High Court: The number of judges in a high court, unlike the Supreme Court, is decided by the President of India rather than the parliament.

High Court in India (Article 214-231)

There shall be a High Court for each State. (Article 214).
Every High Court shall be a Court of record and shall have the power to punish for its contempt. (Article 215).
Every High Court consists of Chief Justice and such other Judges as the President may from time to time deem it necessary to appoint.

High Court Mind Map

Appointment and conditions of service of a Judge of a High Court (Article 217)

Every Judge of HC shall be appointed by the President; by warrant under his hand and seal.
Hold office until he attains the age of 62 years.
President to consult:

  1. Chief Justice of India
  2. Governor of the State
  3. Chief Justice of the concerned State where the appointment is to other Judges of the HC.

Judges (HC) take the oath administered by Governor.
Judge may resign anytime; Resignation addressed to the President.
The judge may be removed; in the manner provided under Article 124 (Same as SC Judges).
The office may be vacated due to an appointment to SC, or transfer to another HC by President.
Qualification for Judges of HC

  • He shall be a citizen of India;
  • Held at least 10 years of judicial office in the territory of India.
  • An advocate of the High Court for at least 10 years (or High Courts in succession).

Note- For any question with regard to the age of a Judge of HC; the President’s decision is finally taken after consultation with CJI.

Any permanent Judge of HC shall not plead or act in front of any authority; Except the SC and other HC.

Article 222 – Transfer of Judges from one HC to another – By the President with the consultation of CJI transfer Judges from one HC to another.
Article 223 – Acting Chief Justice
President may appoint an acting Chief Justice.
If Chief Justice is unable to perform his duties.

Additional/Acting Judges of the High Court

  • Additional Judges
    • More work/ pending cases (additional Judges can be appointed).
    • Not exceeding 2 years; not after attaining 62 years.
  • Acting Judges of the High Court
    • When any Judge is absent; not able to perform his duty (Acting Chief Justice).
    • Acting Judge under such circumstances.
    • Tenure: Not exceeding 2 years and not after attaining 62 years.

Appointment of retired Judges of HC

The Chief Justice of the High Court with the previous consent of the President; request retired Judges of other HC to act as Judge of that HC.
Salaries and allowances are to be determined by the President.

Jurisdiction of High Courts

Constitution does not provide for any general jurisdiction of the Courts (Article 225);
Says it existed at the commencement of the Constitution.
Subject to the law made by Parliament and State Legislature.

Original Jurisdiction

No original jurisdiction in the case of criminal matters; original jurisdiction in certain civil cases of higher value.

Appellate Jurisdiction

Both civil and criminal matters.
Letter Patent Appeals in case of H.C of Allahabad; Bombay; Calcutta; Madras and Patna High Courts.

Types of Jurisdiction in High Court

High Court’s power of superintendence (Article 227)

Every High Court has superintendence over all courts and tribunals throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction.
Issue general rules; regulate practicing and proceeding in the Courts; prescribe forms in which entries and accounts are to be kept.

Such rules require the previous approval of the Governor and are not in violation of any law.
The armed Forces Tribunal doesn’t fall within the jurisdiction of High Courts.

Writ jurisdiction (Article 226)

Writ jurisdiction throughout the territory in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction.
Not only for violation of FRs but for other purposes as well (legal rights).

Difference Between Article 226 and Article 32

Difference Between Article 226 and Article 32

Transfer cases to High Court (Article 228)

The High Court can transfer cases pending before a subordinate court to itself if it involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of this constitution.

Extension of jurisdiction of the High Court (Article 230)

Parliament may by law; include or exclude the jurisdiction of the High Court to any union territory.

Establishment of a common high court for two or more states (Article 231)

Parliament may by law; establish a common High Court for two or more states.

High Courts in India List

YearNameTerritorial JurisdictionSeat & Bench
1862BombayMaharashtra, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman Diu, GoaSeat: Mumbai,
Bench: Panaji, Aurangabad, and Nagpur
1862KolkataWest Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar islandsSeat: Kolkata,
Bench: Port Blair
1862MadrasTamil Nadu, PondicherrySeat: Chennai,
Bench: Madurai
1866AllahabadUttar PradeshSeat: Allahabad,
Bench: Lucknow
1884KarnatakaKarnatakaSeat: Bengaluru,
Bench: Dharwad and Gulbarga
1948GuwahatiAssam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal PradeshSeat: Guwahati,
Bench: Kohima, Aizawl, and Itanagar
1949RajasthanRajasthanSeat: Jodhpur
Bench: Jaipur
1956Madhya PradeshMadhya PradeshSeat: Jabalpur
Bench: Gwalior and Indore
1958KeralaKerala & LakshadweepErnakulam
1971Himachal PradeshHimachal PradeshShimla
1975Punjab & HaryanaPunjab, Haryana & ChandigarhChandigarh
2019Andhra PradeshAndhra PradeshAmravati
2019Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh
(Note: In 1928, the Jammu & Kashmir high court was established. Post-bi-furcation of J&K into two union territories; there is now a common high court.)
Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh


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