The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial forum and final court of appeal under the Constitution of India, the highest constitutional court, with the power of constitutional review.
It comprises the Chief Justice of India and 30 other judges. It has original, appellate and advisory jurisdictions.
As the final court of appeal of the country, it takes up appeals primarily against verdicts of the High Courts of various States of the Union and other courts and tribunals.
The Supreme Court has extensive original jurisdiction for the protection of fundamental rights of citizens. It also acts as the court to settle disputes between various governments in the country. As an advisory court, it hears matters which may specifically be referred to it under the Constitution by the President of India. It also may take cognisance of matters on its own (or 'suo moto'), without anyone drawing its attention. It was first set up in Calcutta for administration of justice.
The law declared by the Supreme Court becomes binding on all courts within India.
In 1861 the Indian High Courts Act 1861 was enacted to create High Courts for various provinces and abolished Supreme Courts at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay and also the Sadar Adalats in Presidency towns which had acted as the highest court in their respective regions. These new High Courts had the distinction of being the highest Courts for all cases till the creation of Federal Court of India under the Government of India Act 1935. The Federal Court had jurisdiction to solve disputes between provinces and federal states and hear appeal against judgements of the High Courts.
The Supreme Court of India came into being on 28 January 1950. It replaced both the Federal Court of India and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council which were then at the apex of the Indian court system.
Supreme Court initially had its seat at Chamber of Princes in the Parliament building where the previous Federal Court of India sat from 1937 to 1950. The first Chief Justice of India was Sir H J Kania. In 1958, the Supreme Court moved to its present premises.
In formative years, the Supreme Court met from 10 to 12 in the morning and then 2 to 4 in the afternoon for 28 days in a year.