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Other Powers

Article 129 declares the Supreme Court as a Court of Record, and thus its proceedings are recorded for perpetual verification and testimony its records are admitted in evidence and cannot be questioned in any court of law and it has the power to punish by fine and imprisonment any person guilty of contempt or its authority.

  1. The decision of the Supreme Court is binding on all courts within the territory of India. However the Supreme Court is not bound by its earlier decision it can come to a different decision if it is convinced that it had made an error or harmed public interest.
  2. The Supreme Court can make rules regarding the practice and procedure of the court with the approval of the President.
  3. The Supreme Court can appoint its officers and servants in consultation with the UPSC and determine their conditions of service in consultation with the President.
  4. The Supreme Court can recommend to the President the removal of the Chairman and members of the UPSC.
  5. Under Article 139-A the Supreme Court may transfer to itself cases from one and more High Courts it these involve question of law or of great significance. The Supreme Court may transfer cases from one High Court to another in the interests of Justice.

Supreme Court Advocates

Section 16(1) of the Advocates Act, 1961 recognizes two classes of advocates – senior advocates and other advocates. Section 16(2) further provides who may be designated as a senior advocate and reads as under:

“An advocate may, with his consent, be designated as senior advocate if the Supreme Court or a High Court is of opinion that by virtue of his ability [standing at the Bar or special knowledge or experience in law] he is deserving of such distinction.”

This section was amended in 1973 to include the words “standing at the Bar or special knowledge or experience in law” and originally stood as “experience and standing at the Bar”. The same criteria can be found in the rules framed by the various High Courts and the Supreme Court of India in this regard.

Thus, the power to designate has been given to the Full Court i.e. the Chief Justice and the Judges. As such, the practice seems to be that after applications are received for designation, they are circulated to all Judges and applications receiving recommendations from at least five judges are put to vote in the Full Court and are generally designated.

Thus, the process is entirely opaque and there is no way of knowing whether any of the criteria guiding Order IV Rule 2(a) of the Supreme Court Rules and Section 16(2) of the Advocate Act are taken into account since there exist no minutes of meetings detailing evaluation of applications or discussions on the same, the applicants are not interviewed, reasons for non-designation are not communicated to applicants, moreover, the Court adopted voting by Secret Ballot in 2014 making it impossible to know who voted for whom.

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