(1) An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court from any judgment, decree or final order in a civil proceeding of a High Court in the territory of India if the High Court certifies under article 134A—
(a) that the case involves a substantial question of law of general importance; and
(b) that in the opinion of the High Court the said question needs to be decided by the Supreme Court.
(2) Notwithstanding anything in article 132, any party appealing to the Supreme Court under clause (1) may urge as one of the grounds in such appeal that a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of this Constitution has been wrongly decided.
(3) Notwithstanding anything in this article, no appeal shall, unless Parliament by law otherwise provides, lie to the Supreme Court from the judgment, decree or final order of one Judge of a High Court.
Article 111, Draft Constitution
(1) An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court from a judgment, decree or final order in a civil proceeding of a High Court in the territory of India except the States for the time being specified in Part III of the First Schedule, if the High Court certifies-
(a) That the amount or value of the subject-matter of the dispute in the court of first instance and still in dispute on appeal was and is not less than twenty thousand rupees; or
(b) That the judgment, decree or final order involves directly or indirectly some claim or question respecting property of the like amount or value; or
(c) That the case is a fit one for appeal to the Supreme Court; and, where the judgment, decree or final order appealed from affirms the decision of the court immediately below, in any case other than one referred to in clause (c), if the High Court further certifies that the appeal involves some substantial question of law.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in article 110 of this Constitution, any party appealing to the Supreme Court under clause (1) of this article may urge as one of the grounds in such appeal that the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of this Constitution which has been wrongly decided.
Draft Article 110 (Article 132, Constitution of India, 1950) was debated on 3rd June 1949, 6th June 1949 and 16th October 1949. It conferred appellate jurisdiction to the Supreme Court on civil matters pertaining to substantial questions of law.
A member moved an amendment to insert ‘such amount as may be fixed by law by Parliament’ in clause 1 (a). He argued that the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court must not be rigid and restricted to 20,000 – the future Parliament must have the option of increasing it at appropriate times.
The Draft Article provided a general right to appeal to the Supreme Court in civil matters. There was a proposal to allow the Parliament to subject this right to qualifications. The member argued that the generality of this right would significantly increase the workload of the Supreme Court. The Parliament should have the power to regulate civil jurisdiction of the court through future legislations. A member of the Drafting Committee supported this amendment. As per the Draft Article, he believed that, if conditions of appeal had to be spelt out, it would be through a constitutional amendment. This would be undesirable – ‘It ought to be an elastic provision’. However, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee was not in favour of this proposal. He believed that this would reduce the power of the Supreme Court and would enable the Parliament to make drastic laws including one that may take away all civil appellate powers.
Another member lamented the specificity of the provision. He pointed out that the Constitution must not be burdened with ‘technicalities’ – the future parliament must be entrusted with explaining and qualifying the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
The Assembly accepted a few amendments moved by the Drafting Committee – others were negatived. The Draft Article was adopted on 6th June 1949. The Draft Article was reopened on 16th October 1949 and the Drafting Committee moved a few amendments to simplify the provision.