Powers and Jurisdiction of the High Courts are as follows:
Original Jurisdiction of the High Courts
Original jurisdiction refers to the power of hearing and deciding the cases at the first instance. The High Court has the original jurisdiction in the following cases:
- Cases which involve matters relating to state revenues and collection.
- Cases dealing with will, divorce, marriage, company laws and contempt of court.
- The High Court can interpret the Constitution. This is known as the power of judicial review.
- Like the Supreme Court, it can hear cases in which the fundamental rights have been violated.
- Under original jurisdiction, the High Court can hear cases which deal with election petitions challenging the election of the members to the Parliament or the state Legislative Assembly.
Appellate Jurisdiction of the High Courts
The High Court can hear appeals against the decisions of the District Courts in civil and criminal matters.
Only those civil cases which are decided by the District Courts under the jurisdiction of the District Court can be brought before the High Court by an appeal.
In civil cases, only those which are concerned with land revenues and where injustice has been made by the tribunal court can be brought before the High Court. Criminal cases where appellate jurisdiction are involved are
- Appeals could be made to the High Court against the judgement of a Session Judge when the sentence of imprisonment exceeds seven years.
- Appeals can be made against the judgement of an Assistant Session judge and other Judicial Magistrates, where the sentence of imprisonment exceeds four years.
- Appeals can be made against the state when an order of acquittal is passed by a Sessions Judge.
- High Court needs to confirm the sentence of death passed by the lower courts.
Advisory Jurisdiction of the High Courts
The state government can seek legal advice from the High Court on constitutional and other matters of law. However, their advice is not binding on the government.
Revisory Jurisdiction of the High Courts
- The High Court can ask for the record of a case which has been decided by any subordinate court. This happens when the High Court feels that the subordinate court has decided cases which do not come under its jurisdiction.
- Thus, the High Court can review the decisions passed by the lower courts. It is called revisory jurisdiction.
- This jurisdiction is applicable to those cases where injustice has been done to the accused, principles of natural justice have been violated and a gross error has been made while delivering justice.
- Also Read The Supreme Court
The High Court can declare any laws passed by the legislature as null and void if it violates any provision of the Constitution.
Court of Record
The High Court is the court of record as the decisions given by it are preserved as records for the future reference of the lower courts. The High Court can also punish a person for contempt of court.
Independence of the High Courts
Independence of the High Courts is ensured by taking the following steps:
- The salaries and allowances of the judges cannot be reduced to their disadvantage during their term of office.
- No discussions can be made in the state legislature regarding the conduct of the judges.
- The High Court can punish a person for contempt of court.