HIERARCHY OF COURTS IN INDIA

    There has always been a need for maintenance of law and order in the world. People need a person or a place that they can approach for the adjudication of their disputes. The judiciary is one of the most important aspects of democracy.

    INTRODUCTION

    In India, the judiciary was established by virtue of the Constitution of India. The Constitution of India establishes the Supreme Court of India as the highest court of authority and appeal in the country. It has, in part, retained certain aspects of the way the British Courts previously worked, such as their characteristics and practices. The provision for the Judiciary was made under Part V of the Constitution of India, from Articles 124-147 and Chapters V and VI deal with the Supreme Court and the State Judiciary that is the High Court.

    The Constitution imparts a judicial system that is independent of the government, which implies that the executive and the legislative parts have no control over the way the judiciary functions. The three branches must be kept separate or else justice will not be delivered as freely as it should be, that is without the opinion of the government. Independent judiciary is essential so that the government is kept on its toes. 

    There should be faith in the judiciary so that the people can approach the courts if there are any issues. Therefore, their faith could be reassured in the judiciary if the body remains powerful and independent. The courts that are present at every level are entrusted with the task of providing judicial relief to people all across the country and to ingrain a sense of community in the people and to serve them with crisp efficiency.

    Indian Courts are structures with regards the territoriality and subject matters of cases. It is a norm that most of the cases start at the lower courts and if either of the parties is not satisfied with the decision of the lower courts then they have the right to approach the higher courts for justice. The process of approaching the courts is an escalation process with providing maximum satisfaction to the parties that are tried under the Judicial System.

    The Courts in India have a hierarchical structure that derives its authority from the Constitution of India and is exercised by the Courts of law at different levels. The system that is made is strong enough to exercise its power and authority over every individual. The defined hierarchy is different for cases that are brought before the court. The cases are of two types of civil cases and criminal cases.

    The Supreme Court of India is the Court with the highest authority and is placed at the very top of the hierarchical order which is succeeded by the High Courts at a regional level followed by the District Courts at a district level.

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    THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA 

    The Supreme Court of India operates at the highest level of authority and was established according to the Chapter IV, Part V of the Indian Constitution[1], which states the concept of the Supreme Court of India being the guardian of the Constitution of India and is a court of the highest level in India.

    As per the Lawyers Digest, the Supreme Court of India, since its inception (January 28th, 1950), has delivered 25,000 judgments. The jurisdiction and the composition of the Indian courts have been specified in Articles 124 to 147 of the Constitution. The court mainly comprises of the Chief Justice of India and 30 other Judges who carry on the day to day operations of the court. All cases are heard in English as it is the language of the court. The Supreme Court is governed by the Supreme Court rules that were published in the year 1966.

    Article 145 of the Constitution, which is currently in the process of up gradation, ensures the regulation of the practices and procedures of the Supreme Court.

    The Supreme Court is mainly an Appellate Court as it is a court that hears the appeals of the cases which have been heard in the High Courts that are located in different states and union territories spread across the entire country and are dissatisfied with the judgment that has been passed. Writ petitions are also accepted in the Supreme Court concerning cases that are about suspected activities, which might be about the violation of Human Rights and other nefarious activities. These petitions are accepted under Article 32 of the Constitution of India that ensures relief. Cases that are of this nature and filed under this article are immediately heard by the Court. 

    THE HIGH COURTS

    The High Courts of India are the second most important courts in the country after the Supreme Court of India. They were established by part 4, Chapter 5 of the Indian Constitution and are bound by the judgments of the Supreme Court by Article 141 of the Constitution. They are essentially governed by the laws that are set by the Supreme Court that are given by the method of judgments and orders. The Supreme Court guides the courts by the way of precedence.

    There are 25 High Courts that are spread across the country and take care to provide justice in the regional areas. The High Court that was established in Kolkata is the oldest High Court in India.

    The judges that are appointed[2] to the High Court are appointed by the President of India in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the Governor of the concerned State or Union Territory.

    The High courts are mainly confined to the jurisdiction of the State or group of states or the union territory. They have the power to govern the lower courts like the family, civil and criminal courts. They are treated as the subordinate of the High Court by their status. High courts mainly exercise their power when the lower courts do not have the power to authorize judgments beyond their judgments. There are very specific issues where only the High court has the authority to extend its authority like federal law or company law.

    The High Courts  become more involved in the cases of the lower courts when there are appeals that are raised by the appellants in the lower courts by the way of writ petitions according to Article 226 of the Constitution of India. When writ petitions are raised it becomes solely the area of the High Courts with its jurisdiction only extended over the area that comes under the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court.

    The decisions on the number of judges that are passed by the High Court are mainly done by a majority and is done so by calculating the average rate of the main cases that were disposed of by each high court judge.

    High courts that handle most of the cases of specific areas are provided help by the way of benches or branches of the high court to reduce the workload. It also helps to serve the complaints that come in from the remote areas and who find it difficult to travel and wait for the cooperation of the judge.

     THE DISTRICT COURTS

    The district courts are mainly made upon the need of the state governments or the union territories. It is made mainly considering factors like the population of the state, the number of cases pending in the High Court, and more. Upon these facts, the decision is made whether there is a need for several district courts or a singular district court.

    These types of courts mainly exercise the judicial authority at a district level. They come under the authority of the High Court as the district comes under the influence of the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court. The judgments that are given by the district court can be appealed against or reviewed by the High Court of that state.

    The governor mainly appoints the judges of the District Court in consultation with the High Court[3]. The state appoints several additional district judges and assistant district judges so that the cases can be processed faster. They have the same authority as that of the district judges.

    The courts have authority over the subordinate courts that are in the area especially in the area of civil and criminal proceedings.

    The courts that cover the civil cases include the junior civil judge courts and senior civil judge courts which are subordinate to the courts which are at district level.

    The courts covering criminal cases comprise of Second Class Judicial Magistrate Court, First Class Judicial Magistrate Court, and Chief Judicial Magistrate Court along with family courts that are founded to deal with the issues related to disputes of matrimonial issues only. There are 672 district courts located in the states and union territories combined.

    CONCLUSION

    The justice which has to be administered to a person is one of the most important aspects of the state body for which the Constitution created a judicial system in the country. This article emphasizes on the various aspects of the constitution that allow the court system in India to function the way it works. Further the article talks about the importance and the hierarchical structure that is present regarding the court system in India, various types of Courts that are present and the functions and powers of each of the courts. 

    REFERENCES

    [1] The Constitution of India,1950, a.124.

    [2] The Constitution of India,1950, a.217.

    [3] The Constitution of India,1950, a.233.


    BY LISA ALBE ZACHARIAH | NMIMS, NAVI MUMBAI

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