Re The Special Courts Bill, 1978

The Parliament has before it a Bill called the Special Courts Bill, the Bill has been moved by a Private Member and that the Bill comprises of ten provisos which accommodate the preliminary of specific offences and guilty parties. There is no hypothesis about the current presence of the Bill and there is nothing theoretical about its substance as they stand today. The Bill may experience changes later on however so may the Constitution itself, including Article 143, under which the President has referred to this Court. The previous chance can’t refer to theoretical or speculative anything else than the last chance can make it so. The Special Courts Bill is there in flesh and blood for anybody to see and analyze. That supports the reference, which is established upon the fulfilment of the President that an inquiry as respects the protected legitimacy of the Bill is probably going to emerge and that the inquiry is of such a nature and such open significance that it is convenient to acquire the assessment of this Court upon it. The court examined a portion of different choices referred to by the interventionists who mentioned the primer criticism regarding the viability of the reference. Be that as it may, it couldn’t hold, for reasons previously mentioned, that the reference is theoretical and should, in this manner, be returned unanswered.

CitationAIR 1979 SC 478, (1979) 1 SCC 380, 1979 2 SCR 476 [1978] INSC 247
Bench/JudgesY Chandrachud, N Untwalia, P Bhagwati, P Shinghal, R Sarkaria, S M Ali, V K Iye
CourtSupreme Court of India
Acts InvolvedArticle 143 of the Constitution, Article 14 of the constitution, Article 21 of constitution, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.


The draft Special Courts Bill 1978 presented in the Parliament by a private part looks to make a sufficient number of courts to be called unique courts. The Bill gives that a unique court will take awareness of or attempt such cases as are organized before it or moved to it in the way gave in that. On the off chance that the Central Government is of the supposition that there is by all appearances proof of the commission of an offense claimed to have been submitted during the time of Emergency by an individual who held high open or political office in India and that the said offense should be charged with under the Act, it will announce with that impact for each situation wherein it is of that feeling. An affirmation made by the Central Government can’t be brought being referred to in; my court. Section (7) of the Bill gives that an exceptional check will be directed by a sitting Judge of a High Court in India or an individual who has held the workplace as a Judge of a High Court in India and named by the Central Government in discussion with the Chief Justice of India. Section 10(1) gives that despite anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, and intrigue will lie starting at directly from any judgment or request of an exceptional court to the Supreme Court of India both on actuality and on law, The President referred to the Supreme Court under Article 143(1) of the Constitution for the thought of the inquiry whether the Special Courts Bill 1978 or any of its arrangements, whenever instituted would be naturally invalid. The opposite side brought up the criticism concerning the viability of the reference by the court. In this, the Advisory Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is generally talked about. The Supreme Court has a unique warning ward in issues that may explicitly be alluded to it by the President of India under Article 143 of the Constitution.

What is a Special Court?

A Court which was developed under a goal, to oversee exceptional kinds of cases under a condensed and smoothed out technique.

Facts of the Case

On August 1, 1978, the President of India made a reference to this Court under Article 143(1) of the Constitution for the thought of the inquiry whether the “Special Courts Bill, 1978” or any of its arrangements, whenever authorized, would be constitutionally invalid.

At the commencement of the hearing of the reference, counsel appearing for some of the interventionists as also some of the Advocates General raised a preliminary objection to the maintainability of the reference contending that for various reasons which were mentioned by them in their written briefs, the reference was incompetent and invalid and therefore the Court should refuse to answer the question submitted by the President for its consideration and report.

Article 143(1) is couched in broad terms which provide that any question of law or fact may be referred by the President for the consideration of the Supreme Court if it appears to him that such a question has arisen or is likely to arise and if the question is of such a nature and such public importance that it is expedient to obtain the opinion of the Court upon it.

As per Clause 10 of the bill,

(1) Notwithstanding anything in the said Code, and intrigue will lie starting at directly from any judgment or request of a Special Court to the Supreme Court of India both on reality and law.

(2) Except as previously mentioned, no intrigue or amendment will mislead any court from any judgment or request of a Special Court.

Clause 10 of the Bill is beyond the legislative power of the Parliament to enact.

For example, Article 133(3) provides that notwithstanding anything contained in the Article, no appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court from the judgment, decree, or final order of one Judge of a High Court (in a civil proceeding), unless Parliament by law otherwise provides.

The Constitution has given so totally and abundantly to a pecking order of Courts, it is encouraged that it is impermissible to the Parliament to make a court or a class of courts which doesn’t fall inside or fit in that conspire.

Nothing in the Constitution legitimizes the inconvenience of such an impediment on the Parliament’s capacity to make Special Courts.

By Clause 5 of the Bill, just those offenses can be attempted by the Special Courts regarding which the Central Government has asserted under Clause 4(1).

Persons who are singled out by the Bill for preliminary under the watchful eye of Special Courts have regular qualities and the individuals who fall outside that gathering don’t have them.

The Bill legitimately accommodates a strategy whereby indictments falling inside its degree might be ended expediently.

The next ailment from which the procedural piece of the Bill endures is that by Clause 7, Special Courts are to be directed either by a sitting Judge of a High Court or by an individual who has held office as Judge of a High Court to be designated by the Central Government in counsel with the Chief Justice of India.

We are of the supposition that Clause 7 of the Bill disregards Article 21 of the Constitution to the degree that an individual who has held office as a Judge of the High Court can be delegated to direct a Special Court, just in consultation with the Chief justice of India.

Background of the Case

Special courts, which have existed in the subordinate legal executive since before Independence, are set up under a resolution intended to address explicit debates falling inside that rule.

In any case, regardless of being an old method for tending to the specificities of specific rules and legal excess, there is by all accounts close to nothing if any assessment of how this framework functions.

Quick track courts were the aftereffect of suggestions made by the eleventh Finance Commission which instructed the creation concerning 1,734 such courts to manage the legal overabundance. They were actualized however an official plan rather than a resolution of the assembly and were intended to be set up by State governments in discussion with the individual high courts. Even though intended to be ended up in 2005, the plan was stretched out till 2011. From that point forward, six such courts have been set up in Delhi to take up assault cases.

Aside from the Supreme Court tending to their constitutional status, strategy questions relating to the need and proficiency of special courts have only occasionally been broke down. As of October 2017, upwards of 71 out of Delhi’s 441 adjudicators in common and meetings court or 17% of Delhi’s subordinate legal executive were assigned as special courts under 12 resolutions. All the more as of late, the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection, and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016 drafts contain an arrangement for special courts.

Issue Involved

  • Whether the Special Courts Bill 1978 or any of its provisions, whenever sanctioned would be constitutionally invalid?
  • Whether Parliament had the authoritative ability to sanction the provisions contained in the Special Courts Bill?
  • Whether the Bill or any of its provisions abuse the rights ensured by Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution?
  • Whether the Parliament authoritative competent to present investigative forces on the Supreme Court from decisions and requests of Special Courts as given in Clause 10(1) of the Bill?
  • Whether there would anything say anything is in the Constitution which constrains that capacity to the setting up of one more Court of a similar kind and assignment accommodated in the Constitution’s progressive Provisions of courts?

Contentions by Respondent

Breaking down the different perspectives meeting on the primer protest, the accompanying disputes rise for our thought:

(1) That the reference is theoretical and speculative;

(2) that the reference is obscure, general and omnibus;

(3) that since the Parliament is seized of the Bill, it is its select capacity to choose the lawfulness of the Bill and if we pull back that question for our thought and report, we will be infringing upon the capacities and benefits of the Parliament;

(4) that the reference, whenever engaged, will replace the beneficient and healthy arrangements of Article 32 of the Constitution;

(5) It is vain for us to consider the defense of the Bill since whatever might be our view, it will be available to the Parliament to examine the Bill and to pass or not to pass it, with or without revision;

(6) The reference brings up an absolutely policy centered issue which we should cease from replying; and

(7) Considering the repercussions of the activity of warning purview, both convenience and appropriateness request that we should restore the reference unanswered.

Cases Involved

Janardan Reddy and Ors. v. State of Hyderabad and Ors.1 , in which the Military Governor of Hyderabad, by the powers delegated to him by the Nizam, constituted Special Tribunals which consisted of three members appointed by him for trying offenses referred to them by the Governor by general or special order. But the decision, in that case, turned on the question whether the judgment of the Hyderabad High Court which was pronounced before January 26, 1950, and which had acquired a finality could be reopened before the Supreme Court under the provisions of the Constitution. That question was answered in the negative and no argument arose or was made regarding the violation of Article 14.

Maganlal Chhagganlal (P) Ltd. v. Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay and Ors2, held that it was unavoidable that when an exceptional system is endorsed for a characterized class of people, for example, occupiers of metropolitan or government premises, circumspection which is guided and constrained by the hidden strategy and motivation behind the enactment has essentially to be vested in the regulatory power to choose occupiers of city or government premises for bringing them inside the activity of the uncommon method.

Syed Qasim Razvi v. The State of Hyderabad and Ors.3 , It was held that Article 13 of the Constitution had no review impact, that a pre Constitution law must be held to be legitimate for every single past exchange, and in this manner, the Special Tribunal or Special Court had truly taken comprehension of the cases before them.

The State of West Bengal v. Anwar Ali Sarkar4, it was held that Section 5(1) of the West Bengal Special Courts Act, 1950 was entirely void since it presented subjective forces on the Government to arrange offenses or cases at its pleasure and the Act didn’t set out any strategy or rules for the activity by the Government of its watchfulness to order cases or offenses.

Kathi Raning Rawat v. The State of Saurashtra5, It was held that the prelude to the Ordinance which alluded to “the need to accommodate open wellbeing, support of open request and the conservation of harmony and serenity in the State of Saurashtra” along with the sworn statement documented by the State Government clarifying the conditions under which the censured request was passed, managed a reason for recognizing the case from Anwar Ali Sarkar since unmistakably the Government had an adequate direction for characterizing offenses, classes of offenses or classes of cases for being attempted by the Special Procedure.


The plain obligation and capacity of the Court under Article 143(1) is to consider the inquiry on which the reference i6 made and report to the President its conclusion, gave the inquiry is equipped for being articulated upon and falls inside the forces of the Court to choose. On the off chance that, in any way, shape or form the Court thinks of it as not legitimate or conceivable to respond to the inquiries it is qualified to return the reference by calling attention to the obstructions in noting it.

It can’t be said that the reference is of a theoretical or speculative character on the ground that the Bill presently can’t seem to turn into an Act.

In the press It case there is no theory about the presence of the Bill and there is nothing speculative about its challenges as they stand today. The Bill may experience changes in the future however so may the Constitution itself, including Article 143, under which the President has referred to this Court.

It isn’t anticipated from this Court while noting a reference under Article 143, to sit up and find, Article by Article, which arrangement of the Constitution is most wildly to be summoned for attacking the legitimacy of the Bill on the off chance that it turns into a law. Theoretical feelings or speculative inquiries are useless and it is in opposition to rule, badly arranged and futile that assessments ought to be given Up.l such inquiries by any means. At whatever point a reference is made to this Court under Article 143 of the Constitution, care ought to be taken to outline explicit inquiries for the assessment of the Court. In the moment reference, it is conceivable to consider explicit inquiries as being fathomed inside the particulars of the reference yet the hazard that an ambiguous and general reference might be returned unanswered is genuine and should draw in the consideration of those whose obligation it is to outline the reference.

The Parliament has the legislative competence to make Special Courts and to give that intrigue will lie starting at directly from any judgment or request of a Special Court to make a presentation under Clause 4(1) of the Bill regarding the Supreme Court. Provisions 2 and 10(1) of the Bill are, in this manner, inside the Parliament’s administrative ability and the provisions accommodated in Clause 4(1) of the Bill is substantial to the degree to which the Central Government is engaged to announce in regard of offenses affirmed to have been submitted during the time of Emergency by people who held high open or political workplaces in India. People who are asserted to have submitted offense before the statement of Emergency can’t truly be assembled alongside the individuals who are affirmed to have submitted offenses during the time of Emergency.

The method recommended by the Bill for the preliminary of offenses in regard of which an affirmation can be legitimately made by the Central Government under Clause 4(1) of the Bill is simple and reasonable aside from as to the arrangement in Clause 7 of the Bill, under which a resigned Judge of the High Court can be selected as a Judge of the Special Court, the provisions in Clause 7 under which the arrangement of a Judge to the Special Court can be made by the Central Government in an interview with however without the simultaneous of the Chief Justice of India; and the nonappearance of an arrangement for the move of a case starting with one Special Court then onto the next.


The Constitution has hence made sufficient and powerful arrangements for the foundation of a solid, free and unbiased legal organization in the country, with the vital supplement of common and criminal courts. It isn’t allowable for Parliament or a State Legislature to overlook or sidestep that Scheme of the Constitution by accommodating the foundation of a common or criminal court corresponding to a High Court in a State, or by the method of an extra or extra or a subsequent High Court, or a court other than a court subordinate to the High Court. Any such endeavor would be illegal and will strike at the autonomy of the legal executive which has so honorably been revered in the Constitution thus deliberately breastfed throughout the years.


  1. [1951] S.C.R. 344 
  2. 1974 AIR 2009, 1975 SCR (1) 1
  3. [1953] S.C.R. 589
  4. [1952] S.C.R. 284
  5. [1952] S.C.R. 435


Q1. What Article 143 of the Indian constitution states?

Q2. What are special courts?

Q3. Why clause 10 of the bill is beyond the legislative power?

Q4.Why the court has not answered the reference made by the president?

Q5. How to classify special courts?

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