Constitution of India

Article – 146. Officers and servants and the expenses of the Supreme Court.—

The Constitution of India is the fountainhead from which all our laws derive their authority and force. This is next Article in the series on constitutional provisions in order to aid our readers in understanding them.


146. Officers and servants and the expenses of the Supreme Court.—(1) Appointments of officers and servants of the Supreme Court shall be made by the Chief Justice of India or such other Judge or officer of the Court as he may direct:

Provided that the President may by rule require that in such cases as may be specified in the rule, no person not already attached to the Court shall be appointed to any office connected with the Court, save after consultation with the Union Public Service Commission.

(2) Subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, the conditions of service of officers and servants of the Supreme Court shall be such as may be prescribed by rules made by the Chief Justice of India or by some other Judge or officer of the Court authorised by the Chief Justice of India to make rules for the purpose: Provided that the rules made under this clause shall, so far as they relate to salaries, allowances, leave or pensions, require the approval of the President.

(3) The administrative expenses of the Supreme Court, including all salaries, allowances and pensions payable to or in respect of the officers and servants of the Court, shall be charged upon the Consolidated Fund of India, and any fees or other moneys taken by the Court shall form part of that Fund.

Administrative control of staff: The administrative control in respect of the staff of the Supreme Court is vested in the Chief Justice who has the power to appoint, remove, and make rules for their conditions of service.

Court fees: Though the fees realised under the Court-fees Act are not appropriated for any specific purpose but form part of the general revenues of the State it would fall within the expression “fee” in the Constitution.

Power of C.J. of High Court: The power available to the Chief Justice of the High Court, under article 229, is akin to the power of the Chief Justice of India under article 146 of the Constitution and the Chief Justice means the person then in the office of the Chief Justice and not the court or other judges.

It is to safeguard the independence of the judiciary that article 146 provides for (i) appointments of officers and servants of the Supreme Court being made by the Chief Justice, (ii) conditions of service of officers and servants of the Supreme Court being laid down by rules made by the Chief Justice, and (iii) all administrative expenses of the Court including staff salaries etc. being charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. However, in every one of these three provisions, there are in-built limitations, e.g., (i) The President may by rule require consultation with the Union Public Service Commission before appointing anyone not already attached to any office in the Court; (ii) the power of the Chief Justice to prescribe by rules conditions of service of the employees of the Court is made “subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament” and rules regarding “salaries, allowances and pensions” are subject to approval by the President, and (iii) any fees or other moneys taken by the Court have to go to the Consolidated Fund of India. These limitations on the powers of the Chief Justice/Supreme Court were presumably deemed necessary for ensuring that appointments to some higher posts are made on merits which may be better adjudged by UPSC, that some budgetary responsibility over the expenses is retained and that care is taken of any repercussions of scales of pay etc. on employees in other wings of the State.

Source: Subhash C Kashyap, Constitutional Law of India

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