Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice of India and not more than 30 judges. Supreme Court Judges are appointed by the President and they hold office until they attain the age of 65 years. As provided in Article 141 of the Constitution, the law declared by Supreme Court is binding on all courts within the territory of India. As mandated by Article 144 of the Constitution, all authorities, civil & judicial, in the territory of India, are required to act in aid of the Supreme Court. In order to give administrative freedom to the Court, Article 146 gives exclusive power to Chief Justice of India in the matter of appointment of officers and servants of the Court.
The Judges of Supreme Court are assisted and day-to-day work of the Court is managed by a Registry headed by the Secretary General and the work of the Registry has been divided into 45 sections. Division of judicial work in various sections is based mainly on geographical basis i.e. State/High Court wise. However, there are some sections dealing exclusively with special subject categories such as Writ Petitions and Public Interest Litigations. Also, there are ancillary judicial sections such as Filing Section where all the cases are filed, Listing and Computer Sections dealing with listing of cases, Record Room, Paper Book Section, Decree Sections, where final decrees are drawn in terms of the judgments of the Court, Copying Branch where certified copies are issued, Receipt and Issue Branch, which receives and dispatches the correspondence and Editorial Branch which publishes the judgments of the Court vide a journal Supreme Court Reports. Then, there are two subordinate wings i.e. Judges Library and Court Masters wing. Also, there are sections dealing with establishment and administration etc. The subjects dealt with by each section are well-defined and duties and responsibilities of each employee are duly earmarked. Each Section is headed by a Branch Officer and Assistant Registrar. They work under the supervision of a Deputy Registrar/Additional Registrar. Judicial Sections are controlled by two Registrars, who are assisted by Additional Registrars. 19
B. SITTING OF THE COURT- The Courts ordinarily sit from 10.30 A.M. to 4 P.M. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and from 10.30 A.M. till the work is over on Monday and Friday. The Courts do not sit on Saturdays and holidays, except to hear the matters of urgent nature. For each month, a Vacation Officer is appointed by the Registry and his name, address and telephone Nos. are circulated to the advocates. If hearing of matter is sought on a Saturday or a holiday or after Court hours on a working day, the applicant has to file an affidavit of urgency before the Vacation Officer, who then takes directions on the request for urgent hearing and informs the applicant.
C. VACATION BENCHES – Vacation Benches sit regularly during summer vacation to hear urgent admission matters as well as old regular matters. The Registry identifies old regular matters, which need to be heard during summer vacation and advance list of such matters is circulated to the advocates. Ordinarily, urgent admission matters are heard on Mondays. Leftover matters, if any, of Monday, are included in the list of next working day. Old regular matters during summer vacation are normally heard from Tuesday to Friday. No matter is entertained and considered for listing before the vacation bench, unless it is inter alia accompanied by such an affidavit, which is sufficient to indicate the urgency.
D. OFFICES OF THE COURT – Except during Vacation and on Saturdays and holidays the offices of the Court remain open from 10.00 A.M. to 5.00 P.M. but only work of urgent nature is admitted after 4.30 P.M. Except on days which are holidays, the offices of the Court remain open from 10.00 A.M. to 1.00 P.M. on Saturdays but only urgent work is admitted after 12.00 P.M.
E. ADVOCATES – i. No advocate other than an Advocate-on-Record is entitled to file an appearance or act for a party in the Court.
- ii. No advocate other than an Advocate-on-Record can appear 20 and plead in any matter unless he is instructed by an Advocateon- Record.
- iii. Any advocate not being a SeniorAdvocate may on his fulfilling the prescribed conditions be registered in the Court as an Advocate-on-Record.
- iv. No Advocate-on-Record may, without leave of the Court, withdraw from the conduct of any case by reason only of non-payment of fees by his client.
- v. No Advocate-on-Record shall authorize any person whatsoever except another Advocate-on-Record, to act for him in any case.
- vi. An Advocate-on-Record is required to file a Memorandum of Appearance on behalf of the party, accompanied by a Vakalatnama duly executed by the party.
- vii. An Advocate-on-Record is entitled to act as well as to plead for the party in the matter and to conduct and prosecute all the proceedings before the Court. He is also entitled to deposit and receive money on behalf of the party.
- viii. No person having an Advocate-on-Record shall be heard in person except by Special Leave of the Court.
- ix. The Chief Justice and the Judges may, with the consent of an advocate, designate him as Senior Advocate, if in their opinion, by virtue of his ability, standing at the Bar or special knowledge or experience in law, he deserves such a distinction.
- A Senior Advocate cannot file Vakalatnama or act in any Court or Tribunal in India. He cannot appear, without an Advocate-on-Record, in the Supreme Court, and without a junior in any other Court or Tribunal in India. He cannot accept any brief or instructions directly from the client, to appear in any Court or Tribunal in India. He cannot accept instructions to draw pleadings or affidavits. He cannot advise on evidence or do any drafting work, though he is entitled to settle any matter in consultation with a junior.