The British Parliament by enacting the Government of India Act 1935 gave a new constitution to regulate functions of the Legislature, executive and judiciary of India. The Act contained many provisions regulating the establishment, constitution, jurisdiction and powers of the High Courts. Some important provisions of the Act relating to High Courts may briefly be stated as follows. Act of 1935 provided that every High Court will be a Court of Record consisting of a Chief Justice and other Judges as appointed by Her Majesty from time to time. The provision of the Act of 1911, fixing the maximum number of the Judges as twenty, was dropped and the Act of 1935 empowered the King-in’Council to fix the number of Judges from time to time for each High Court.
The jurisdiction of the existing High Courts, the law administered in it and the powers of the Judges continued the same under the Act of 1935 as they were before it. The prohibition which was imposed on the three presidency High Courts in 1915 on their original jurisdiction to take cognisance of any matter concerning revenue was allowed to continue. The Act of 1935 made specific provision for the salaries, allowances and pensions of the Judges of the High Courts that it will be fixed by Her Majesty on their appointment. It was also provided that none of these will be changed to the disadvantage of a Judge after his appointment. This important provision ensured the independence of the judiciary from any executive interference.
Provision was also made for an appeal to the Federal Court from any judgment, decree or final order of a High Court.
The Letters Patent of the High Court contained a provision that in case of difference of opinion amongst the judges, when neither opinion was in the majority, the view of the senior Judge was to prevail, while on the other hand section 98 of the Code of Civil Procedure contained a provision that where a Bench consisting of two Judges while hearing an appeal was faced with a difference of opinion between the Judges, on a point of law, they had to state the point and refer the matter and the appeal was then to be heard on that point only by one or more other Judges, in accordance with whose opinion the appeal was to be disposed of.
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