Advisory Jurisdiction Of Supreme Court

advisory jurisdiction of supreme court

Article 143 of the Constitution of India mentions the advisory jurisdiction of Supreme Court. This article elaborates on one of the three jurisdictions, namely the advisory jurisdiction. 

The Supreme Court is India’s highest court. Along with the appellate and original jurisdiction, it also has advisory jurisdiction. What does that mean? The President is required by Article 143 to submit to the Supreme Court any matters that are not expressly covered by its original jurisdiction but fall under its advisory authority nonetheless. The Apex Court’s opinion or judgement is advisory in nature and not obligatory, so it is up to the President to decide whether to follow the opinion or not. To put it briefly, the President is not compelled to implement the Supreme Court’s ruling.

The advisory authority of the Supreme Court is crucial to the protection of the citizen’s fundamental rights and for the maintenance of secularism in the country. Hence, having in-depth knowledge about this advisory power guaranteed in the earlier-mentioned article is important for any UPSC aspirant. Additionally, this topic is a part of the UPSC Syllabus of Indian Polity. Rest assured this piece of content will surely help in your UPSC Exam Preparation.

Supreme Court And Its Jurisdiction

 Supreme Court or Apex Court is India’s highest and final appellate court. Its jurisdiction is divided into three branches with a reference under Articles 131, 133 to 136, and 143 of the Indian Constitution. Let us briefly look at each of them. 

Appellate Jurisdiction

Essentially, the Supreme Court is an appeals court that reviews decisions given by subordinate civil courts. The types of matter where Appellate Jurisdiction is practiced is catering to appeals on (i) constitutional matters (ii) civil matters (iii) criminal matter (iv) special leave. Thus, the Apex Court has appellate jurisdiction in the cases mentioned above.

Original Jurisdiction

Original jurisdiction deals with any dispute between (i) the Indian Government and State/States (ii) State and State/States (iii) two or more opposing States. These question of law or facts involves disputes catering to legal rights. Furthermore, the reference under Indian Constitution’s Article 32 grants it jurisdiction in circumstances where there is a need to enforce or protect the citizen’s Fundamental Rights.

Advisory Jurisdiction

In terms of the Supreme Court, it is bestowed with advisory functions. Read on to learn more about the advisory jurisdiction of Supreme Court and various advisory proceedings and judicial reviews that are relevant to Indian legal matters.

What Is Advisory Jurisdiction Of Supreme Court?

Article 143 grants the Supreme Court of India advisory jurisdiction. The term “Advisory jurisdiction” refers to “the Supreme Court’s authority to render an opinion on questions presented to it by the Indian President, either of his own motion or at the request of either House of Parliament or a State Legislature.” This jurisdiction is another name for consultative jurisdiction.

President can seek the help of the Supreme Court on the 2 matters stated below:

  1. If at any time, it does seem to him that a question of law or a factual issue has emerged or is about to emerge and is of public importance that an expedited resolution should be obtained, then the President may submit it to the Apex Court for application for review and report.
  2. Any pre-constitutional tender, arrangement, promise, responsibility, or other similar actions that could lead to a dispute.

In the first case, the Supreme Court can decide to issue or not issue an advisory opinion to the President., but it must do so in the second. In both cases, the Supreme Court’s decision/opinion is advisory in nature and not obligatory or binding. As a result, the President has the option either to follow or disobey the order. The primary notion behind this jurisdiction is that the President can ask for the Supreme Court’s assistance on any topic of public interest or law.

15 references made by the Indian President to the Apex Court for advisory jurisdiction in matters until 2019. Theses are:

  1. Delhi Laws Act (1951)
  2. Kerala Education Bill (1958)
  3. Berubari Union (1960)
  4. Sea Customs Act (1963)
  5. Keshav Singh’s Case on the charge of contempt of Uttar Pradesh State Assembly and Legislature’s privileges (1964)
  6. Presidential Election (1974)
  7. Special Courts Bill (1978)
  8. Jammu and Kashmir Re-settlement
  9. Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal or Cauvery Dispute Tribunal (1992)
  10. Rama Janma Bhumi case (1993)
  11. The procedure for consultation that the Indian Chief Justice would use (1998)
  12. The Center’s and States’ legislative authority over natural gas and liquefied natural gas (2001)
  13. Whether the Election Commission’s decision to postpone the Gujarat Assembly Elections is lawful (2002)
  14. Punjab Termination of Agreements Act (2004)
  15. The ruling in the 2G spectrum dispute and the requirement to auction natural resources across all industries (2012)

Advisory Judgement

Under the Indian advisory judgement, the President of India may request the Supreme Court’s opinion on a specific issue. The “Presidential Reference” is another name for this procedure. It can be seen that if the president believes that a situation of public concern has arisen and that the Supreme Courts opinion is required, he can refer the case to the Supreme Court. It’s also worth noting that the Supreme Court can answer the query if it appears to be of public importance.

Advisory Functions 

The Supreme Court has an advisory jurisdiction. Article 143 of the Constitution of India specifies that the court can advise the president on any matter of public importance in judicial administration. Advisory jurisdiction covers any issue that has become of public interest. The president can also ask the SC for its thought on any legal question that involves public interest. It is this process that demonstrates the supreme court’s ability to support lower courts.

The Supreme Court of India’s advisory powers constitutes an important aspect of its functioning. The Indian Constitution grants it this authority. Article 143 describes the Supreme Court’s judicial functions. It advises the President on issues of public concern and the rule of law.


To recapitulate, the Supreme Court of India has been given the authority to issue advisory opinions on cases presented to it by the Indian President. According to Article 141, the Apex Court’s ruling is not imperative to the Indian President. As the country’s highest legal institute, the Supreme Court of India is expected to render an advisory opinion on any legal subject requested by the  President or any other authority. Reference under Article 143 of the Indian Constitution grants this authority.


Q1. Which Article Bestows An Advisory Jurisdiction To The Supreme Court?

Article 143 bestows an advisory jurisdiction to the Supreme Court.

Q2. Was Article 143 Evoked In The Cauvery Dispute Tribunal Case?  

Yes. Cauvery river flows through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The central government-appointed Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal issued an interim ruling requiring  Karnataka to transfer a specific amount of water to the state of Tamil Nadu. Karnataka government resented this decision and brought forth an Ordinance supporting their action. The Tamil Nadu government objected against this. So, the President asked for the Supreme Court’s opinion under Article 143. The subsequent opinion was that the Karnataka Ordinance was unconstitutional as it goes against the decision of the Tribunal appointed under the 1956 Inter-State Water Dispute Act. 

Q3.Why Was The Babri Masjid Case Turned Down By The Supreme Court Of India? 

This action was based on the doctrine of secularism. In the Babri Masjid case, the President sought the Supreme Court’s advisory opinion by invoking Article 143 However, the court rejected it since it violated the doctrine of secularism mentioned in our Constitution’s Preamble (Ref: Ismail Faruqui Vs Union Of India). This decision catered to the sentiments of various religious communities living in India and declined its jurisdiction.

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