Full session – A plenary panel refers to a court composed of a higher than average number of judges. The Sikkim High Court sits in Gangtok and has jurisdiction over the state of Sikkim. It can have a maximum of 3 judges, all of whom must be appointed permanently. Currently, it has 3 judges.  Once a criminal or civil case has been heard, it can be challenged in a superior court – a federal court of appeal or a state court of appeal. The litigant who appeals, called an “appellant”, must prove that the court of first instance or the administrative authority made an error of law that affected the outcome of the case. An appellate court makes its decision based on the case record prepared by the court of first instance or the lower court – it does not receive additional evidence or hear witnesses. It may also review findings of fact made by the court of first instance or the trial authority, but can normally only set aside the outcome of a trial on objective grounds if the findings were “manifestly erroneous”. If an accused is found not guilty in criminal proceedings, he or she may not be retried on the basis of the same facts.
The Constitution does not determine the number of Supreme Court judges; rather, the number is set by Congress. There were only six, but since 1869 there have been nine judges, including a chief justice. All judges are appointed by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and serve for life. Since judges do not have to run or run for re-election, it is believed that they are protected from political pressure when deciding cases. Judges may remain in office until they resign, die, or are impeached and convicted by Congress. The courts only hear cases of fact and controversy – a party must prove that they have suffered harm in order to take legal action. This means that the courts do not rule on the constitutionality of laws or the legality of acts if the judgment has no practical effect. Cases before the judiciary usually range from the District Court to the Court of Appeal and may even end up in the Supreme Court, although the Supreme Court hears relatively few cases each year. Article III of the Constitution, which establishes judicial power, leaves Congress considerable discretion in determining the form and structure of the federal judiciary. Even the number of Supreme Court justices is left to Congress — sometimes there were only six, whereas the current number (nine, with one chief justice and eight associate justices) has only existed since 1869.
The Constitution also gives Congress the power to create courts subordinate to the Supreme Court and, to that end, Congress has established the United States District Courts, which hear most federal cases, and 13 United States Courts of Appeals, which review appellate courts. Although the Supreme Court can hear an appeal on any point of law, provided it has jurisdiction, it does not generally hold a trial. Rather, the Court`s task is to interpret the meaning of a statute, to decide whether a statute is relevant to a particular situation, or to decide how a statute is to be applied. Lower courts are required to follow Supreme Court jurisprudence when making decisions. Judges` robes have long been adopted to bring dignity and solemnity to judicial proceedings. Following the custom of English judges, some American colonial judges adopted the wearing of robes as well as many other customs and principles of the English common law system. When the Supreme Court first met in 1790, the justices had not yet decided to wear robes, but in February 1792 they first appeared in a standard set of robes that one journalist called “robes of justice.” These dresses are believed to have been black, with red and white trim on the front and sleeves. They were only used for a few years before the judges adopted all the black robes.
After his election, a member of the Court may not be delegated either to the government of his own country or to the government of another State. Unlike most other organs of international organizations, the Court is not composed of representatives of governments. The members of the Court are independent judges whose first task, before taking up their duties, is to solemnly declare in open court that they will exercise their powers impartially and conscientiously. In this area, the Constitution allows Congress to decide how many justices sit on the Supreme Court. Section 1 of Article III begins with a detailed instruction to Congress to establish courts.