Under the Constitution of India, the judiciary is a single integrated system of courts for the Union and the States with the Supreme Court at the apex. Our judiciary is independent of the Legislature and Executive. The High Courts, Subordinate Courts and District Courts function under the Supreme Court. The Constitution, various Acts, conventions and precedents of cases are the basis for judicial judgements. The judgement of the Supreme Court is final.
Need for single independent judiciary
Need for a single independent judiciary: (i) In a representative democracy, administration of justice assumes special significance in view of the rights of individuals, which needs protection against executive or legislative interference. This protection is given by making the judiciary independent of the other two organs of the government. (ii) An independent and supreme judiciary is also an essential requirement of a federal governance. (iii) Such a judiciary is essential for ensuring human rights and protecting democracy.
Functions of the Supreme Court
The functions of the Supreme Court are: i) Settlement of disputes; ii) Enforcement of fundamental rights; iii) Advisory jurisdiction; iv) Revisory jurisdiction; v) Judicial review; vi) Court of record; vii) Guardian of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court has the power to review laws passed by the Union or State legislatures. The Supreme Court can declare a law 'ultra vires' or null and void, if it is against the letter and spirit of the Constitution or contravenes any provision of the Constitution. This is the power of Judicial Review.
Need for judicial review
If the Union Government or the State Government go beyond their limits, the Supreme Court can settle the dispute. The legislature may not possess the wisdom, experience and impartiality which are needed to explain what the law means. This function can be best performed by the Supreme Court.