INDIAN JUDICIAL SYSTEM

Justice League of India


Ever been to a court? Wonder what happens there? Is it the same as portrayed in daily soaps and movies? Does it make you remember that “tareekh pe tareekh” dialogue of sunny deol?

Read along to know how the of Indian Judicial System  works i.e. its structure, hierarchy, and the working of courts.

The judiciary consists of the courts at various levels e.g. Supreme Court of India for the whole country , high courts at the state level, and district and sessions courts at the district level. At the district level further division is done on the basis of the genre of cases i.e. Civil courts for Monetary and land disputes and Criminal courts for Crimes against humanity.

A Strict Hierarchy is maintained between the different levels of the judiciary. The constitution of India bestows each tier of the judiciary with certain powers and duties to act in favour of the general public.

The hierarchy is as follows: Supreme Court >High Court>District Court>Other Subordinate Courts.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the highest court of the country and its jurisdiction lies over the entire nation. It is the highest court of appeal and can change the decisions passed by lower courts. Articles 124 to 147 of the Constitution give various powers to supreme court to act in the interest of the general public. Any judge is appointed to the Supreme Court by the President of India from the list of names recommended by the Collegium – a closed group with limited number of the members including the Chief Justice of India and the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.

Major Functions of the supreme court

  •  The supreme court, if need be, can pick up a case Suo Moto (latin for “on its own motion”) that is affecting public without consultation or appeal from anyone.
  • A Public Interest Litigation can be filed in the supreme court. It is done either via a writ petition or by writing a letter addressed to the Chief Justice Of India.
  • Article 32 of the Constitution gives an extensive original jurisdiction to the Supreme Court in regard to enforcement of Fundamental Rights.

High Courts of India

According to the constitution every state should have had at least one high court. However the 7th amendment allowed common high courts to be established such as Punjab & Haryana High Court. Every High court has 94 judges out of which 71 are permanent and 23 are additional judges.A judge of the High Court is appointed after consultation between the Chief Justice of a High Court and its senior-most judges.

Major Functions of the court

  • For civil cases, appeals against the judgment of District judges in case one of the parties is not satisfied with the decision or directly of the case is of higher value.
  • For criminal cases, appeals are filed if the sentence of imprisonment awarded by the Sessions judge exceeds seven years or capital punishment has been awarded.
  • They  can also look into appeals made against orders of Tribunals and committees that have been conferred semi- judicial jurisdictions. Writ petitions can also be filed in these courts given that they are prerogative.

Click here to know more about writ petitions

District Courts

The highest judicial authority in a district is the District or Sessions court. Their counterpart in a metropolitan city is the Metropolitan Court. Appointments and promotion of district judges in any state are made by the Governor of the state after consultation with the high court to which the district belongs. Administration of all these courts is under the High Court of the state to which the district belongs.

Subordinate courts

Articles 233-237 of the constitution deal with the subordinate courts. Many types of subordinate courts are present below the district level too to ensure speedy justice for people.These include:

  • Nyaya Panchayats at the village level act as the first level of seeking justice for any wrongdoing.
  • Munsif courts
  • Subordinate Magistrate Courts
  • Panchayat Adalats

Their Metropolitan counterparts include:

  • Metropolitan Magistrates Courts. Class I Magistrate Courts and Class II Magistrate Courts.
  • City an civil session courts
  • Presidency Small causes courts

These subordinate courts are usually for one of the three purposes: Administrative, Civil Cases, Criminal Cases.

Various mechanisms of seeking justice are present at each and every level. However, with the ever increasing population,and negligence in fulfillment of vacancies there is a pile up of cases in all the courts.  

For more such informative articles stay tuned to OWN TV

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