The Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal in the country. It is located in New Delhi. The Highest Court of India consists of the Chief Justice of India and not more than 25 other judges. After going through this lesson you will be able to understand how does the Supreme Court plays Guardian of the Fundamental Rights?
Supreme Court as the Guardian of the Fundamental Rights
The Fundamental Rights are guaranteed by the Constitution against the action of both the Executive as well as Legislature. Any act of the Executive or of the Legislature which takes away or abridges any of these fundamental rights shall be unconstitutional and the Court is empowered to declare it as void. Article 32(1) guarantees for the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights, Article 32(2) lays down that the Supreme Court has the power to issue directions or orders or writes like habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto, and certiorari for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights. The Supreme Court is thus the protector, and guardian of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
Functions of the Supreme Court
- As stated above, the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to settle disputes which arise between the central government and various state governments. It also has original jurisdiction over cases which deal with the interpretation of the Constitution and enforcement of fundamental rights.
- The Supreme Court decides cases on appeals which are made to it in respect of original jurisdiction.
- Under appellate jurisdiction, any cases pending in the High Courts or lower courts can be brought before the Supreme Court if it involves the interpretation of the Constitution in civil and criminal cases.
- An important function of the Supreme Court is that it can allow leave to appeal against the judgement of any court of India. This power can be exercised by the Supreme Court only when the civil cases involve the law dealing with the interest of the public. This power can be exercised in criminal cases when the interpretation of laws arises and when it is readily realized that grave injustice has been done.
- Any citizen whose fundamental rights have been violated can directly approach the Supreme Court and the latter can issue writs such as habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto etc. for the enforcement of fundamental rights.
- The Supreme Court can declare any law made by the Government as null and void if it violates the fundamental rights of any individual.
- The Supreme Court of India is the guardian of the Constitution and of democratic principles.
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