Indian Judiciary


Indian Judiciary

The judicial system in India is one of the most constructive and effective systems in the world. The constitution divides the government into three branches namely the Legislature, Judiciary and Executive. The judiciary is an important branch of the Indian government. It is an independent body different from the executive and legislature. The judiciary acts as a check to keep both the executive and the legislature in their mandated roles. The main task of judiciary is to bring justice to the people.

The Indian judiciary inherited its legal system from British colonial rule; it was built after two centuries of colonial rule by the British. The unified court system was introduced by the Government of India Act in 1935 and enforces both central and state law. In India, there are various tiers and jurisdictions of the judicial system, each with its own set of courts and distinct powers. The Supreme Court of India sits at the top, followed by the High Courts of their respective states, where district judges sit in District Courts, Magistrates of Second Class, and Civil Judge (Junior Division) sit at the bottom of the importance hierarchy. Civil and criminal cases, as well as disagreements between individuals and the government, are heard in courts.

The Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court of India is the successor of the Federal Court established under the Government of India Act, 1935. The Supreme Court of India situated at Delhi was inaugurated on January 28, 1950. The Constitution of India has made the Supreme Court ultimate guarantor of fundamental rights of the citizens. It is also the interpreter and guardian of the Constitution. Presently, the Supreme Court comprises of the Chief Justice and 33 other Judges appointed by the President of India. The Articles 124 to 147 of the Indian Constitution deals with the composition, appointment, powers, procedures, etc. of the Supreme Court. The proceedings of the Supreme Court are conducted exclusively in English. The Supreme Court Rules, 1966 and the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 govern the practice and procedure of the Supreme Court. These rules are enshrined in Article 145 of the Constitution of India.

The High Court

On June 6, 1861, Secretary of state Sir Charles Wood moved the Indian High Courts bill in the House of Commons. On August 6, 1861, the British Parliament finally approved the Indian High Courts Act. "An Act for establishing High Courts of Judicature in India" was the title of the act. This Act gave the crown the authority to issue letter's patents under the great seal of the United Kingdom and to build and establish High Courts in Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay. Presently there are 25 High courts in India. High Courts are the highest court of appeal in a state and are subordinate to the Supreme Court of India. The Articles 214 to 232 of the Indian Constitution deals with the composition, appointment, powers, procedures, etc. of the High Court judicature.

The Subordinate Courts

The subordinate courts or the lower courts are the lifeline of the Indian judiciary being the most easily accessible means to justice for the common public. The High Courts of the respective states are above the Subordinate Courts of the area. The Subordinate Court is the subject of Constitutional Articles 233 to 237.



The Supreme Court

Original, appellate, and advisory jurisdiction are all vested in the Supreme Court. Any dispute between the Centre and a State or States, as well as matters pertaining to the enforcement of individuals’ fundamental rights, falls under its exclusive original jurisdiction. The appellate jurisdiction of Supreme Court is available in both civil and criminal cases. The residuary power of Special Leave Petition can also be used to invoke the Supreme Court's appellate jurisdiction. Decisions made by the Supreme Court serve as precedent for lower courts and are legally binding on all courts and tribunals in the nation. Article 141 of the Indian Constitution mandates all courts to adhere to the Supreme Court's decision as the law. Article 143 contains Advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under which the president can ask for the opinion of Supreme Court on matter of public importance.

High Court

The judicial administration of a state is headed by the High Court. Out of 25 High Courts, three have jurisdiction over more than one state. Delhi, Jammu& Kashmir and Ladakh are Union Territories with their own High Courts. Each high court consists of a Chief Justice and other judges as appointed by the President from time to time. Every High Court has ability to issue to any individual within its purview of jurisdiction orders, or writs. The writs issued by High Court are habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto and certiorari for implementation of fundamental rights. Each High Court has powers of supervision over all lower courts within its jurisdiction. It may call for returns from these courts, make and enact general rules and prescribe forms to govern their practice and procedure and to determine the manner in which book entries and accounts are to be kept.

Lower Courts

Civil Side:

In India, judicial matters at the district level are handled by District Courts. The High Courts of the States to which the District belongs have administrative and judicial control over these courts, which are headed by a judge. The District Courts are subordinate to the High Courts of their respective jurisdictions. The state's high court hears all civil appeals from the district courts. At this level, there are numerous secondary courts that report to the District Courts. There is a court for the Chief Judicial Magistrate and a court for the Civil Judge. The former handles civil cases, while the latter deals with criminal cases and offenses.

Criminal Side:

The criminal courts are constituted according to the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC) 1973. Section 6 of the Cr.PC. provides that Besides the High Courts and the Courts constituted under any law, other than this Code, there shall be, in every State,

The following classes of Criminal Courts, namely:
  • 🏛Courts of Session
  • 🏛Judicial Magistrates of the first class and, in any metropolitan area, Metropolitan Magistrates
  • 🏛Judicial Magistrates of the second class
  • 🏛Executive Magistrates

The State Government establishes the Court of Sessions which has to be presided by a Judge appointed by the High Court. The Additional/ Assistant Sessions Judge are appointed by the High Court of a particular state. In every district, which is not a metropolitan area, there shall be as many as Judicial Magistrates of first class and of second class. The presiding officers shall be appointed by the High Courts. Every Judicial Magistrate shall be subordinate to the Sessions Judge. Except for the Metropolitan area, the Judicial Magistrate of the first class shall be appointed as the Chief Judicial Magistrate. Only the Judicial Magistrate of First Class may be designated as Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate. The Court of Metropolitan Magistrates are established in Metropolitan areas. The High Courts have the power to appoint the presiding officers. The Metropolitan Magistrate shall be appointed as the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate. The Metropolitan Magistrate shall work under the instructions of the Sessions Judge. According to section 20 in every district and in every metropolitan area, an Executive Magistrate shall be appointed by the State Government and one of them becomes District Magistrate.