Hierarchy of Civil Courts

Whenever one says law, the first thing that comes to the mind of a lay man is courts. Courts are most important thing in any country. The Supreme Court of India located in New Delhi is the top court. Then comes the High Court which every state generally has one. And last but the not the least are subordinate courts. The factors in determining the further hierarchy of the civil courts are jurisdiction, i.e., monetary, and territorial. Pecuniary jurisdiction means depending upon the case value of suit and territorial refers to the area in which the particular offense was accomplished. 

Civil Law are cases where wrong is done against a particular individual or constitutes an injury to an individual or other private party, such as a corporation Civil law generally between individuals. It is not breaking of any law but rather breaking of deal between them. A Legally bounded deal. Few of civil wrongs are defamation (including libel and slander), breach of contract, negligence resulting in injury or death, and property damage.

But when a civil wrong has happened to anyone where should one approach can they directly go to Supreme Court, or should they go to High Court? The question is what hierarchy of civil court is.

The first court or the lowest court in the hierarchy is


Tribunals exist for the delivering effective and speedy justice (especially in administrative matters) as well as for specialised knowledge relating to specific kind of disputes. Tribunals in India is to look into various matters of grave concern.

Lower Courts / Subordinate courts

Some States have lower courts (below the District Courts) called Munsif’s Courts and Small Causes Courts, Lower Courts only have original jurisdiction and There are many civil matters which go to different courts. Courts such as rent control authority are set to look upon the cases related to rents. Such courts are different from the district courts and deal with cases especially of one type. Such courts are of the lower authority. Lower Courts can try suits up to a small amount, a suit in which the amount claimed is Rs 2,000. But, some States, civil courts have limitless pecuniary jurisdiction.

District Courts

Every district has a district court. The cities or towns have a district and sessions court where civil and criminal cases are looked upon. The court has a district Judge. The matters from the lower authorities in the district court come to the District Judge after they have been tried in all the lower courts.  These courts are administratively and judicially controlled by the High Courts of the respective States to which the district belongs. The District Courts are subordinate to their respective High Courts The district court also has some divisions. There is a court of the Civil Judge as well as a court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate. While the former takes care of the civil cases, the latter looks into criminal cases and offences.

High Court

The High Court is the highest judicial authority for each state in India. Each state has a High Court to deal with the matters that come from the lower courts. High Courts have jurisdiction over the States in which they are located. There are at present, 25 High Courts in India. Only these three High Courts have jurisdiction over more than one State: Bombay (Mumbai) High Court, Guwahati High Court, and Punjab and Haryana High Courts. Principally, High Courts can exercise only writ and appellate jurisdiction, but a few High Courts have original jurisdiction and can try suits. In civil casesan appeal can be made to the High Court against the decision of district courts. An appeal can also be made from the subordinate court when the dispute involves a value higher than Rs. 5000/- or on a question. High Court decisions are binding on all the lower courts of the State over which it has jurisdiction.

Supreme Court of India

The highest judicial authority of the country is the Supreme Court. When the cases have been tried in all the other courts and the parties are not satisfied with the decision of the courts, they have the right to approach the Supreme Court for seeking justice. Supreme court have appellate jurisdiction. The appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court can be invoked by a certificate granted by the High Court concerned in respect of any judgment, decree, or final order of a High Court, in both civil and criminal cases, involving substantial questions of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution.

Article 133 of the Indian Constitution provides that an appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court from any judgment, decree, or final order in a civil proceeding of a High Court of any state, only if the High Court certifies it under Article 134-A – (a) that the case involves a substantial question of law of general importance; and (b) that in the opinion of the High Court the said question needs to be decided by the Supreme Court. Its decisions are binding on all Courts/ Tribunals in the country and act as precedence for lower courts. 

The Supreme Court also has original jurisdiction, but its exclusive original jurisdiction includes any dispute between the Centre and State(s) or between States as well as matters concerning enforcement of fundamental rights of individuals.

These is the way how one can file cases in civil matters.


Aishwarya Says:

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