Judicial System in India
There is a single integrated judicial system in India. It is organized in the pyramidal form. At the apex of the entire judicial system stands the Supreme Court of India.
Immediately below the Supreme Court are the various High Courts and below them are be subordinate courts in each state.
All the courts in the Union of India are under the control of the Supreme Court. And the decisions of the Supreme Court are binding on all other courts within the territory of India.
The Supreme Court is the highest judicial tribunal in India. It consists of one Chief Justice and twenty-five (25) other judges. They are appointed by the President of India. A Judge continues to remain in office till the age of 65 years. He may be removed by the President of the Republic on a report of Parliament on, grounds of proved misbehavior or incapacity.
The Supreme Court has original, Appellate, writ, and Advisory Jurisdiction.
The Supreme Court has exclusive original jurisdiction in any dispute between
- The Government of India and one or more states or
- The Union Government and any State or States on the one side and one or more States on the other,
- Two or more states, if the disputes involve a legal right.
When the matter is Constitutional, an appeal lies to the Supreme Court when the High Court certifies that the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the constitution.
In civil cases, an appeal lies to the Supreme Court when the High Court certifies that the case involves a substantial question of law of general public importance.
In criminal matters, an appeal lies to the Supreme Court when the High Court reverses the acquittal order of the lower court and sentences him to death.
Writ Jurisdiction :
The Supreme Court of India is the protector of the fundamental rights of citizens. It may issue writs in the nature of mandamus prohibition, habeas corpus, certiorari, and quo warrantor for the enforcement of the rights and liberties of the people.
Under the Constitution of India, the President of the Republic can refer to the Supreme Court any question of law or fact of public importance for its opinion. And the Supreme Court may report to the President its opinion thereon.
And lastly, the Supreme court may grant special leave to appeal from the judgment of any court of India.
The Supreme Court is the interpreter and guardian of the constitution of India. It can annual the unconstitutional laws and orders of the Union and the State Governments.
The constitution of India envisages a High Court for each state. Parliament may, however, by law establish a common High court for two or more States.
Each High Court consists of a Chief Justice and one other Judges as the President of India may determine from time to time. The Judges are appointed by the president in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the Governor of the concerned state. The Judges retire at the age of 62. Judges may be removed by the President of India on a report of Parliament.
Jurisdiction of High Court:
Every High Court enjoys original jurisdiction with respect to revenue and its collection, cases of succession, divorce, etc.
In its appellate Jurisdiction, it hears appeals from the lower courts in cases concerning sales-tax, income tax, copyright, patent right, etc. The High Court is a court of record and its proceedings and decisions are referred to in future cases.
A High court can issue writs for the enforcement of fundamental rights or for any other such purpose.
A High Court supervises the working of all subordinate courts and frames rules and regulations for the transaction of business.
The High Court is empowered to interpret the constitution of India. It can review the laws of the State Legislature and may declare them null and void if they go against the provisions of the constitution.
Again, if a High court is satisfied that a case pending in a lower court involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the constitution, it may dispose of the case itself.
There are subordinate courts below the High court in each state.
The courts are under the complete control of the High court. The lower court (e.g. Nyaya Panchayat or Munsiffs court) deals with minor cases while the higher courts (e.g., subordinate Judge’s court or District Judge’s court) deal with important cases.
Appeals lie to the higher courts from the lower courts. An appeal may also lie to the High Court against the decisions of the District judge’s court or the Session Judge’s court.
In a Presidency town, there are city civil courts and Metropolitan Magistrates courts.
In this connection, we are to note that most of the Judges of the subordinate courts are appointed by the Governor in consultation with the High Court of the concerned State.