The Supreme Court shall sit in Delhi or in such other place or places, as the Chief Justice of India may, with the approval of the President, from time to time, appoint.

Debate Summary

During the debate on Draft Article 108 (Article 129), a member argued that making Delhi the seat of the Supreme Court was improper and gave the city undue importance. In response, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee proposed that the matter be dealt with in a separate article, and moved an amendment to insert the following provision after Draft Article 108:

 

‘108-A. The Supreme Court shall sit in Delhi or at such other place or places, as the Chief Justice of India may, with the approval of the  President, from time to time, appoint.’

 

The insertion of Draft Article 108-A (Article 130) was debated on 27th May 1949. It stated that the Supreme Court would sit in Delhi, with the Chief Justice retaining the power to change this.

 

The Chairman of the Drafting Committee justified the need to specify Delhi as the seat, stating that it was necessary for all courts to have a defined seat so that litigants would know where to approach the court. Moreover, since Delhi was the capital during the debates, it was the most appropriate city to be the seat of the Supreme Court; if the capital was changed in the future, the language of the Draft Article was flexible enough to change the seat of the Supreme Court without a constitutional amendment.

 

One member moved two different amendments (here and here) to clarify the meaning of the Draft Article. He argued that the language of the clause was ambiguous, and it could be interpreted to exclude Delhi from the list of ‘other place or places’ selected by the Chief Justice. Therefore, if the Chief Justice decided to create circuit courts due to an increase in the Supreme Court’s workload, he would be prevented from doing so by the language of the Draft Article. In response, a member stated that the language of the Draft Article was clear enough, and that the amendment by the member was needlessly complex.

 

The amendment proposed by the Chairman of the Drafting Committee was accepted by the Assembly, while other amendments were withdrawn by the proposing member. The amended Draft Article was adopted on 27th May 1949.