HIERARCHY OF COURTS

Introduction: –

Hierarchy basically means ‘a system of ranking’. Indian Judiciary is ranked in hierarchical manner as per power of the court.

There are different levels of Courts in India, empowered with different and distinct jurisdictions. Supreme court is the highest court of the country, followed by High Court which is highest court of state.

Supreme Court

                                                            |

                                                    High Court

                                                            |

                                        District and Sessions Court

            (Civil Side)                                                                             (Criminal Side)

                     |                                                                                                  |

    Sub-ordinate Judge Court                                                   Chief Judicial Magistrate Court

                     |                                                                                                  |

            Munsif Court                                                                  Judicial Magistrate Court  

Supreme Court: – The Supreme Court of India is the country’s highest judicial court. It is the final court of appeal in the country. It is the guardian of fundamental rights.

Composition – Including the Chief Justice of India there are 34 judges in the Supreme Court. The judges sit in benches of 2or3 called the division bench, 3or5 called the full bench, 5 or more- called the constitutional bench.

Functions: –

  • It takes up appeal against the verdicts of the High Court, other courts and tribunals.
  • It settles disputes between various government authorities.
  • The Supreme Court also take up cases Suo moto (on its own).

Jurisdiction: –

The Supreme Court has different types of jurisdictions: –

  1. Original Jurisdiction: – It refers to a matter for which the particular court is approached first.
  2. Any dispute between the Indian government and one or more states.
  3. Any dispute between two or more states.
  4. Any dispute between the Indian government and one or more states on one side and one or more states on other side.
  5. Matters regarding enforcement of fundamental rights.
  6. Appellate Jurisdiction: – Under this, the supreme court can hear cases only when they are appealed against a high court order.
  7. Review Jurisdiction: – There are two grounds on which a review is permitted.
    1. If there has been an apparent error on the facts of the cases, leading to the perversity of judgment.
    1. If new evidence has been uncovered which was not available earlier despite the best attempt by the party or out of no fault of the party.
  8. Writ jurisdiction.
  9. A court of record: – As a court of record, Supreme court has two powers:
    1. The judgement, proceedings and acts of the supreme court are recorded for perpetual memory and testimony. These records are of evidentiary value. They are recognized as legal precedent.
    1. It has the power to punish for contempt of court either with simple imprisonment for a term up-to six-months or with fine up-to 2000 or both.
  10. Power of judicial review: – It is the power of the Supreme Court to examine the constitutionality of legislature enactment and executive orders of both the central and state government.

High Court: – The high court is the highest court of appeal in the state vested with the power to interpret the constitution. It is the protector of the fundamental rights of the citizens. Besides, it has supervisory and consultative role. However, the constitution does not contain detail provisions with regards to the jurisdiction and power of High Court.

Jurisdictions:

Original Jurisdiction, Writ Jurisdiction, Appellate jurisdiction, Supervisory Jurisdiction, Control over sub-ordinate courts, A court of record, Power of judicial review

District and Sessions Court: – The District judge is the highest judicial authority in the district. He possesses original and appellate jurisdiction in both civil as well as criminal matters.

When he deals with civil cases, he is known as the ‘District Judge’ and when he hears the criminal cases he is called as ‘Sessions Judge’. The district judge exercises both judicial as well as administrative powers. He also has supervisory power over lower courts in the district.

Appeals against his orders and judgements lie to the High Court. The session court has the power to impose any sentence including imprisonment, death sentence and capital punishment. However, subject to confirmation by the High Court, whether there is appeal or not.

Sub-ordinate Court: – Below the district and session court, stands the court of sub-ordinate judge (on the civil side) and the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate on the criminal side. The sub-ordinate court judge exercises a limited pecuniary jurisdiction over civil suits. The Chief Judicial Magistrate decides criminal cases which are punishable with imprisonment up-to 7 years of term.

At the lowest level, on the civil side, is the court of ‘Munsif’ and on the criminal side is the court of Judicial Magistrate.

The Munsif possess limited jurisdiction and decides civil cases of small pecuniary stake. The Judicial Magistrate tries criminal cases which are punishable with imprisonment for up-to 3 years of term.

In some metro-politian cities there are city civil courts on the civil side and Court of Metro-Politian Magistrate on the criminal side.

Some of the states have established Small Cause Court. These courts decide the civil cases of small value, in a summary manner. There decisions are final but the High Court possesses a power of revision.

Aishwarya Says:

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If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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