This article is written by Michael Shriney from the Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology. This article discusses the provision of Article 144 of the Indian Constitution in detail, including the grounds of the provision, certain facts about it and more, along with related case laws.

It has been published by Rachit Garg.


Article 144 of the Indian Constitution is part of Chapter IV of the Union Judiciary. Article 144 of the  Indian Constitution discusses the civil and judicial authorities’ obligations to assist the Supreme Court. In Indian territory, all authorities, civil and judicial, have been directed to act in support of the Supreme Court. On May 27, 1949, the Constituent Assembly examined Article 120 of the Draft Constitution, also known as Article 144 of the Indian Constitution. All civil authorities were required to act in support of the Supreme Court as per the Draft Constitution. The Assembly approved the drafted Article without debate and adopted it on May 27, 1949. 

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Other authorities in the constitutional framework are not permitted to claim this power exclusively or to replace the Supreme Court’s verdict, except civil and judicial authorities, who have the power under this Article as mentioned. This power exclusively relates to civil laws. Civil and judicial authorities operate as subordinates to support the Supreme Court. There was also Article 144A, a special provision that deals with the constitutional validity of a law, which was removed by the Constitution in the Forty-Third Amendment Act of 1977.

Let’s take a look at Article 144 in detail, along with some relevant case laws.

Article 144 of the Indian Constitution

Article 144 of the Indian Constitution states that

All civil and judicial authorities in the territory of India must act in favour of the Supreme Court.” 

This power cannot be claimed by any other authority or in supersession of the Supreme Court’s verdict. When the Supreme Court declares a pronouncing judgement, it is the constitutional responsibility of every person and authority to recognise its binding effect, regardless of the controversy. It is a constitutional structure founded on democratic principles that include the governance of the nation’s law, and it is the Supreme Court’s constitutional role to finally explain the law. The speakers and others present their points of view, which are conscious of the constitutional structure, which is as much a source of their jurisdiction as the Supreme Court, and also aware that the authority entrusted to each part of the constitution is for the fulfilment of public duty as a constitutional obligation, not for self-aggrandisement. 

There will be no controversy after this perspective has been explained. By adopting a validating Act, the legislature can declare a declaratory judgement of the Supreme Court ineffective retrospectively.  However, the government cannot avoid the Court’s decision in a case in which it was a party by retrospectively changing the regulations in order to overrule the Court’s decision. A review might be used to find a solution. The Court’s decision must be followed as long as it remains effective. Civil and judicial authorities are constitutionally bound not only to act on behalf of the Supreme Court but to execute the Supreme Court’s declared law and also to assist its orders, decrees, or instructions.

The Supreme Court’s penalties are severe for intentional disobedience and non-compliance with the law. The Supreme Court has the authority to impose exemplary costs against a government that is in default. Any civil or judicial authority that fails to comply with any Supreme Court directive may face contempt of court procedures and a penalty. The Supreme Court has the power to issue contempt of court charges that cannot be pleaded to or excused by the failure of civil or judicial authorities to follow the orders. The Supreme Court’s judgments and orders are enforceable under Article 142, wherein all Indian citizens must obey. According to Article 144, civil and judicial authorities have been rendered subordinate to the Supreme Court’s power for the purpose of carrying out the Supreme Court’s orders and decisions, in the sense that they are all required to function in support of the Supreme Court. 

Who are the civil and judicial authorities

Civil authorities

Civilian authority is always ruled supreme over military authority. The civil service is the functional entity in charge of carrying out government activities under the direction and supervision of elected representatives of the people and in compliance with rules and principles. The civil service’s job is to carry out Parliament’s will, as stated by the cabinet while working for the government. Their major goal is to help the government in the formulation of policies and subsequently, the efficient implementation of these policies on the ground. Civil authority in India is aided by the Supreme Court under Article 144 of the Indian Constitution.

Types of civil service 

The three types of civil services are as follows:

  1. All India Civil Services
    1. Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
    2. Indian Police Service (IPS)
    3. Indian Forest Service (IFoS)
  2. Group ‘A’ Civil Services
    1. Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
    2. Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IAAS)
    3. Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS)
    4. Indian Corporate Law Service (ICLS)
    5. Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS)
    6. Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES)
    7. Indian Information Service (IIS)
    8. Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS)
    9. Indian Communication Finance Service (ICFS)
    10. Indian Postal Service (IPoS)
    11. Indian Railway Account Service (IRAS)
    12. Indian Railway Personnel Service (IRPS)
    13. Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS)
    14. Indian Revenue Service (IRS)
    15. Indian Trade Service (ITS)
    16. Railway Protection Force (RPF)
  3. Group ‘B’ Civil Services
    1. Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service
    2. DANICS
    3. DANIPS
    4. Pondicherry Civil Service
    5. Pondicherry Police Service

Judicial authorities

The Supreme Court, High Courts, District Courts or Subordinate Courts, and Magistrate Courts constitute India’s judicial system. The judiciary is a branch of government where the judicial authority is responsible for interpreting the law, resolving disputes, and giving justice to all citizens. These authorities must protect the Constitution and take care of democracy. Judicial authority in India is aided by the Supreme Court under Article 144 of the Indian Constitution.

Who are the judicial authorities

  • The Chief Justice of India, 
  • The Chief Justices of States, 
  • The Judicial Council, 
  • Any prosecutor, 
  • Any court arbitrator, 
  • The special master, 
  • The tribunal, or other similar body of any kind, and
  • Any court judge and any governmental authority exercising judicial powers or functions of any kind are all judicial authorities.

Case laws 

Hoffmann Andreas v. Inspector of Land Customs Station (2001)

Facts of the case 

The petitioner’s case was pending in the Court of Additional Sessions Judge to request transfer to any other Court suitable for the jurisdiction in the State of Punjab/ Chandigarh. The petitioner was charged with a narcotics offence and placed on trial. During the trial, the petitioner’s advocate died. When the petitioner’s new counsel was hired, he submitted an application for recalling witnesses, but the Trial Court denied the application. The petitioner was authorised to initiate a criminal appeal with the Supreme Court. 

Issues involved in the case

According to the petition, whether the Supreme Court is allowed to transfer the case to another Court suitable for jurisdiction in the state of Punjab/ Chandigarh.

Judgement of the Court

The Supreme Court granted the plea to re-examine the witnesses. The Supreme Court’s verdicts and directions must be strictly observed by lower courts, according to Articles 141 and 144 of the Indian Constitution. According to the Supreme Court, the trial court did not follow the directions. The petition was granted in order to transfer the case to the Special Judge of Jalandhar, who would judge the case from the stage till it was concluded. The Special Judge might proceed from that point and pronounce the verdict.

G. Prabakaran v. The Superintendent of Police (2018) 

Facts of the case

In this case, the petitioner asks for the direction where the police register a cognizable offence. The original criminal petitions were filed to direct the police to record the petitioner’s complaint registered with the police. This issue was regularly submitted to the Court, but in this particular case, the Court wished to remove the ambiguity in order to solve similar petitions. These issues have been referred to the Division Bench in order to solve them and to provide clarity in submitting a complaint to the police station.

Issues involved in the case

In this case, the question is how Article 144 of the Indian Constitution is applied.

Judgement of the Court

Articles 141 and 144 of the Indian Constitution require the Director-General of Police to comply. An obligation to act upon the Court in aid of the Supreme Court is enshrined in Article 144 of the Indian Constitution. The Supreme Court had set a timetable for the police to act under Article 141, and it is the Court’s power to initiate this law under Article 144 of the Indian Constitution. If the police fail to perform their duties, the Court has the authority to intervene under Article 144 of the Constitution and Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973. The Court has the authority to order the police to immediately file an FIR in response to the petitioner’s allegation.

Smt.Rinki v. State of Uttar Pradesh Thru Prin.Secondary. Higher Education. Lko and Ors (2019)

Facts of the case

In this case, it concerns the integrity of specific colleges’ admissions to the B.Ed. course for the academic year 2013-2014 as well as not announcing the exams for such students and the announcement of their results. There were plenty of petitions filed in response to this issue. Rinki filed this case seeking an order from the administration of Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut, to announce her B.Ed. examination result.

Issues involved in the case

The question arises as to how Article 144 of the Indian Constitution applies to this petition.

Judgement of the Court

In reviewing the High Court’s decision in that petition, the Hon’ble Supreme Court noted that the High Court had to address the imperative questions that the Hon’ble Supreme Court was entitled to decide. The Supreme Court reminded the High Court of Article 144, which states that all civil and judicial bodies must perform with the Supreme Court’s good intentions. This Article 144 has a significant impact on the maintenance and operation of our judicial system’s hierarchical structure of courts.

With reference to Articles 141 and 144 of the Indian Constitution, the Supreme Court set a timeframe for admissions and declaration of results in B.Ed. courses. The timeframe was set for the College of Professional Educational and others, but they should not hesitate to comply with the timeframe because the power is only granted to civil and judicial authorities. The declaration of results and admission of students must be admitted in B.Ed courses within the set timeframe. If not, it becomes impermissible.


The article concludes by giving a short note on Article 144, which requires civil and judicial authorities in the territory of India to act in favour of and support the Supreme Court. The power is granted solely to civil and judicial authorities and not to any other authorities. Civil authorities such as police officers, IAS officers, and railway officers who wear uniform codes, whereas judicial authorities such as prosecutors, judges, the Chief Justice of India, and governments who work for judicial authorities. The Supreme Court’s decision must be followed by everyone.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is Article 144 according to Indian constitutional law?

According to Indian Constitutional law, Article 144 deals with the power of supporting the Supreme Court by the civil and judicial authorities. 

Who are called the civil authorities?

The civil authorities are in charge of carrying out the country’s laws on behalf of their citizens. For example, officers who wear uniform codes are known as civil authorities, such as police officers, IAS, and railway officers.

Who are called the judicial authorities?

The judicial authorities have the power and jurisdiction to pronounce decisions while also upholding the law of the country. The Chief Justice of India is the highest judicial authority, followed by the Chief Justices of the States, which are the highest judicial bodies in the states in charge of controlling and managing the states.


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