Unlike many countries with federal Constitutions, India has a single judicial system. This, however, is not an altogether novel feature that has come in with the present Constitution. It was there, in a limited sense, under the Constitution. Act of 1935 with the Federal Court as the highest Court within India in all constitutional matters.

But the Federal Court was not the ultimate judicial authority, as appeals could go to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London even from the Federal Court. There are no such limiting factors in the Supreme Court filling the role.

The Court stands at the apex of India’s judicial hierarchy, with effective power to supervise and control the working of the entire system and to ensure the realisation of the high judicial standards that it might set as an integral part of the democratic system of Government sought to be established by the Constitution.

The single hierarchical system of judiciary has brought about not only jurisdictional unity, but also the establishment of a single judicial cadre, as it were, for the whole country.


Although there is nothing that prevents a direct appointment to the Supreme Court from the Bar, there has been none so far, and almost all the appointments to the Supreme Court were made from the High Courts.

Similarly, a good many appointments to High Courts are made from among the judges of the lower courts, particularly the District and Sessions judges. Further, there is also a provision for the transfer of judges from one High Court to another in any part of the country.

The Indian judiciary, thus, with the Supreme Court at its apex, is a fully integrated system in every sense of the term. The writ of the Supreme Court runs not only all over the country, Central, State and local areas, but also within all fields of law, constitutional, civil and criminal.