According due recognition to the important role of the leader of the opposition in a parliamentary democracy, statutory recognition has been given to the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. In addition to salary, certain liberal perquisites have been provided to them, in order to enable them to discharge their functions efficiently in Parliament. Necessary legislation to this effect was passed by Parliament in 1977 and the Rules framed thereunder were brought into effect on November 1, 1977.
The late Y.B. Chavan of the Congress (I) was given the official status of the Leader of Opposition with the rank of a Cabinet Minister, in the Lok Sabha, by the Janata Party Government headed by Morarji Desai. Chavan was thus the first leader of opposition in the country to enjoy the status of a Cabinet Minister.
The Supreme Court
- Originally the Supreme Court consisted of a Chief Justice and seven other judges. The number of judges was increased from 7 to 10 (in 1956), 17 (in 1977) and 25 (in 1985).
- To be appointed judge of the Supreme Court, a person
- Must be a citizen of India;
- must have been a judge of a High Court or of two such courts in succession for a period of five years; or an advocate of a high court for at least 10 years; or is, in the view of the President, a distinguished jurist of the country.
- The Chief Justice and other judgers of the Supreme Court hold office till they attain the age of 65 years. They can relinquish office earlier by addressing their resignation to the President. They can be removed from office by the President on the basis of a resolution passed by the Parliament on grounds of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
- The salary of Chief Justice has been raised to Rs 10,000 per month and that of other judges of the Supreme Court to Rs 9,000 per month.
- They are also entitled to a sumptuary allowance of Rs 1,250 and Rs 750 per month respectively and a staff car with 150 litres of petrol per month.
- The salaries and other expenses in respect of the Supreme Court judges are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
- Their salaries and other privileges cannot be curtailed during their tenure
- On retirement the Chief Justice and other judges are entitled to an annual pension of Rs 60,000 and Rs 54,000 respectively.
- The Supreme Court normally sits at New Delhi. However, it can hold its meeting at any other place in India. The decision in this regard is taken by the Chief Justice of India in consultation with the President.
Independence of Judges
- The salaries and allowance of judge have been charged on the Consolidated Fund of India and are not subject to a vote in Parliament.
- The salaries and other service conditions of judges cannot be changed to their disadvantage during their tenure.
- The removal of the judges has been made quite difficult.
- Judges are barred from carrying on any practice before any court in India after their retirement.
- The decis ions and acti ons of judges c annot be criticised.
- This means that certain types of cases can originate with the Supreme Court alone.
- The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in
- disputes between the centre and one or more states;
- disputes between the centre and any state or states on the one hand and one or more states on the other;
- disputes between two or more states;
- disputes regarding the enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
(ii) Appellate Jurisdiction
- Four types of cases fall within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court—constitutional, civil, criminal, and such cases where it may grant special leave to appeal.
- Generally, appeals can be taken to the Supreme Court if the case involves a substantial question of law regarding interpretation of Constitution or if it involves a substantial question of law of general importance.
(iii) Advisory Powers
- The Supreme Court renders advice to the President on any matter of law or fact whenever he seeks such advice.
- However, the advice is not binding on the President.
(iv) Court of Record
- The Supreme Court is a court of record and its records are admitted to be of evidentary value and cannot be questioned in any court.
- As a court of record it also enjoys the power to punish for its contempt.
(v) Special Leave
Under this the right of the Supreme Court to entertain appeal is unlimited. But the power is to be exercised in exceptional condition—
- In civil cases this power can be exercised only if substantive questions of law or general public interest are involved.
- In criminal cases, only if it is convinced that exception and special circumstances exist to show that substantive questions of law or general public interest are involved.
- In the case of the decisions by tribunals, the Supreme Court can interfere only if the tribunals has either exceeded of its jurisdiction or has approached the question referred to in a manner which is likely to result in injustice.
(vi) Other Powers
- To look into disputes regarding the election of Presidents and Vice-Presidents.
- To recommenced the appointment and removal of the Chairman and members of the UPSC.
(vii) Judicial Review
- It can ensure that the laws passed by the legislature and the orders issued by the executive do not contravene any provision of the Constitution. If they go against any provision of Constitution, it can declare them unconstitutional. The Supreme Court also protects the Fundamental Rights of Indian citizens through various types of writs. It acts as the guardian of the Constitution.