Constitution of India

Article 133 – Appellate jurisdiction of Supreme Court in appeals from High Courts in regard to civil matters.

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.


  1. Appellate jurisdiction of Supreme Court in appeals from High Courts in regard to civil matters.—(1) An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court from any judgment, decree or final order in a civil proceeding of a High Court in the territory of India if the High Court certifies under article
    134A–

(a) that the case involves a substantial question of law of general importance; and

(b) that in the opinion of the High Court the said question needs to be decided by the Supreme Court.

(2) Notwithstanding anything in Article 132, any party appealing to the Supreme Court under clause (1) may urge as one of the grounds in such appeal that a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of this Constitution has been wrongly decided.

(3) Notwithstanding anything in this article, no appeal shall, unless Parliament by law otherwise provides, lie to the Supreme Court from the judgment, decree or final order of one Judge of a High Court.


Article 132 provided that an appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court in “a civil, criminal or other proceeding.” Article 133 is specifically devoted to appeals in regard to civil matters. After the thirtieth Constitution Amendment, (w.e.f. 27th February, 1973), an appeal from a judgment, decree or final order of a High Court lies to the Supreme Court if under Article 134A the High Court certifies that “a substantial question of law of general importance” is involved and that it needs to be decided by the Supreme Court. No such appeal to the Supreme Court shall, however be allowed from the judgment, decree or final order of a single judge of the High Court. In other words, for an appeal to the Supreme Court to be admissible under Article 133:

(i) it should be against a judgment, decree or final order of a High Court,

(ii) it should be in a civil (not criminal) proceeding i.e., one affecting civil rights against another person or the State, and

(iii) the High Court should have issued a certificate to say that the case involved a substantial question of law which needed to be decided by the Supreme Court,

(iv) the judgment, decree or order should not be of a single judge of the High Court.

Considering an appeal under Article 133, the Supreme Court held in P.K. Dave v. People’s Union of Civil Liberties, AIR 1996 SC 2166: (1966) Supp 2 SCR 770: 1996 (4) SCALE 652, that the High Court should refrain from using intemperate language as part of judicial discipline while commenting upon the conduct of another individual particularly when that individual is not before the Court.

After the thirtieth Constitution Amendment, it is also important to note that it is not the monetary value involved in a suit that is relevant but the fact of there being a substantial question of law involved.

Source: Subhash Kashyap: Constitutional Law of India

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