Advisory Jurisdiction of Supreme Court

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 19, 2022, 5:36

The highest court of India, the Supreme Court, was established under Part V, Chapter IV of the Indian Constitution. Following the passage of the Constitution, it took over the jurisdiction and powers of the Federal Court of India and gained some extra powers due to the Constitution's provisions.

The Court has three jurisdictions, one of which is the Advisory Jurisdiction of Supreme Court.

What is Advisory Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?

Article 143 of the Constitution gives the Supreme Court advisory jurisdiction over cases that the President of India has formally submitted to the Court.

  • If the President sees the need to obtain the Supreme Court's opinion on an issue of national significance or importance, they can refer it to the court and request its guidance. The President may then be informed of the court's decision.
  • Any disagreement can be referred to the Supreme Court by the President, and the Supreme Court can decide on it.
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Cases Stating Supreme Court Advisory Jurisdiction

  • The Cauvery Dispute Tribunal

was established by the Central Government to investigate the dispute between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the Cauvery River.

The Tribunal ordered the state of Karnataka to deliver a particular amount of water to Tamil Nadu is one of its orders. The Karnataka government disagreed with the Tribunal's verdict and enacted an ordinance allowing them to ignore the Tribunal's decision.

To resolve the issue, the President made a request to the Supreme Court for advisory jurisdiction on the topic. The Supreme Court ruled that the challenged law was unconstitutional because it breached the 1956 Inter-State Water Dispute Act and went against natural justice principles.

  • The Re Delhi Laws Act case

was the first case brought to the Supreme Court under advisory jurisdiction. The Court evaluated the legality of a statute concerning delegated legislation in this case.

The case was heard by a panel of seven judges, all of whom had diverse viewpoints. While all of the judges acknowledged that the legislature could transfer some legislative processes to the executive, they disagreed over how much power may be assigned.

In general, the bench had two points of view; the Parliament may delegate its legislative authority to any extent it sees fit, provided the condition or limitation that it does not efface itself or relinquish its authority. The Parliament also couldn't assign its "essential" functions to another agency.

  • In Ismail Faruqui v Union of India

a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court argued that the Presidential reference seeking the Court's opinion on whether there was originally a temple where the Babri Masjid later stood was unnecessary, as well as against the concept of secularism favouring one religious section over another, and thus didn't need to be answered.

The Supreme Court held that it was well within its jurisdiction to respond to and advise the President if the questions referred are likely to arise in the future, are of public importance, or if there is no Supreme Court decision on the issue.

To summarize, the Supreme Court's advisory jurisdiction, as defined in Article 143, allows the President to refer any matter to the SC, but it cannot be considered the Supreme Court's jurisdiction. The Court's decisions are not mandatory and therefore do not become law under Article 141. It is up to the Court to determine whether it should be replied to or not, and if not, why not.

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FAQs on Advisory Jurisdiction of Supreme Court

Q.1. What does Supreme Court advisory jurisdiction imply?

Supreme Court advisory jurisdiction is invoked when a subordinate court or a constitutional authority seeks help and advice from a higher court in a legal subject.

Q.2. The Supreme Court of India has advisory jurisdiction under what article of the Indian Constitution?

The Supreme Court of India has advisory jurisdiction under Article 143 of the Indian Constitution.

Q.3. In which article is Supreme Court advisory jurisdiction is provided?

Supreme Court advisory jurisdiction is provided in Article 143 of the Indian Constitution.

4. What are some additional examples of case laws for Advisory Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?

Re Kerala Education Bill, Re BeruBari, Re Sea Customs Act, Special Court Reference case, Re Presidential Bill, and Re Special Courts Bill are among the other notable matters referred to for the Supreme Court's advisory jurisdiction.