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Judicial Courts in India

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Judiciary in India

Judicial Service Entrance Exams

It has in part, inherited the legacy of the legal system established by the then colonial powers and the princely states since the mid-19th century, and has partly retained characteristics of practices from the ancient and medieval times.

There are various levels of judiciary in India – different types of courts, each with varying powers depending on the tier and jurisdiction bestowed upon them. They form a strict hierarchy of importance, in line with the order of the courts in which they sit, with the Supreme Court of India at the top, followed by High Courts of respective States with District Judges sitting in District Courts and Magistrates of Second Class and Civil Judge (Junior Division) at the bottom. Courts hear criminal and civil cases, including disputes between individuals and the government. The Indian judiciary is independent of the executive andlegislative branches of government according to the Constitution.

District Judiciary

The District Courts of India are established by the State Governments in India for every district or for one or more districts together taking into account the number of cases, population distribution in the district. They administer justice in India at a district level. These courts are under administrative control of the High Court of the State to which the district concerned belongs. The decisions of District court are subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the concerned High court.

The district court is presided over by one District Judge appointed by the state Government. In addition to the district judge there may be number of Additional District Judges and Assistant District Judges depending on the workload. The Additional District Judge and the court presided have equivalent jurisdiction as the District Judge and his district court. The district judge is also called “Metropolitan session judge” when he is presiding over a district court in a city which is designated “Metropolitan area” by the state Government. The district court has appellate jurisdiction over all subordinate courts situated in the district on both civil and criminal matters. Subordinate courts, on the civil side (in ascending order) are, Junior Civil Judge Court, Principal Junior Civil Judge Court, Senior Civil Judge Court (also called sub-court). Subordinate courts, on the criminal side (in ascending order) are, Second Class Judicial Magistrate Court, First Class Judicial Magistrate Court, Chief Judicial Magistrate Court.

High Courts

There are 24 High Courts at the State level. Article 141 of the Constitution of India mandates that they are bound by the judgments and orders of the Supreme Court of India by precedence. These courts have jurisdiction over a state, a union territory or a group of states and union territories. Below the High Courts are a hierarchy of subordinate courts such as the civil courts, family courts, criminal courts and various other district courts. High courts are instituted as constitutional courts under Part VI, Chapter V, Article 214 of the Indian Constitution.

However, primarily the work of most High Courts consists of Appeals from lower courts and writ petitions in terms of Article 226 of theConstitution of India. Writ Jurisdiction is also original jurisdiction of High Court. The precise territorial jurisdiction of each High Court varies.

Judges in a high court are appointed by the President after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, Chief Justice of High Court and the governor of the state. The number of judges in a court is decided by dividing the average institution of main cases during the last five years by the national average, or the average rate of disposal of main cases per judge per year in that High Court, whichever is higher.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of India comprises the Chief Justice and 30 other Judges appointed by the President of India, as the sanctioned full strength. Supreme Court Judges retire upon attaining the age of 65 years. In order to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court, a person must be a citizen of India and must have been, for at least five years, a Judge of a high court or of two or more such Courts in succession, or an advocate of a high court or of two or more such Courts in succession for at least 10 years or he must be, in the opinion of the president, a distinguished jurist. Provisions exist for the appointment of a Judge of a high court as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court and for retired judges of the Supreme Court or High Courts to sit and act as Judges of that Court.

The Constitution seeks to ensure the independence of Supreme Court Judges in various ways. A judge of the Supreme Court cannot be removed from office except by an order of the president passed after an address in each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of members present and voting, and presented to the president in the same Session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity. A person who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court is debarred from practising in any court of law or before any other authority in India.

The proceedings of the Supreme Court are conducted in English only. Supreme Court Rules, 1966 are framed under Article 145 of the Constitution to regulate the practice and procedure of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court of India is the highest court of the land as established by Part V, Chapter IV of the Constitution of India. According to the Constitution of India, the role of the Supreme Court is that of a federal court, guardian of the Constitution and the highest court of appeal. Articles 124 to 147 of the Constitution of India lay down the composition and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India. Primarily, it is an appellate court which takes up appeals against judgments of the High Courts of the states and territories. However, it also takes writ petitions in cases of serious human rights violations or any petition filed under Article 32 which is the right to constitutional remedies or if a case involves a serious issue that needs immediate resolution.

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