Judicial System in India | Structure, Composition, Appointment,

Judicial System in India: All You Need to Know

This write-up will take you through the complete details of the judicial system in India. To develop a better understanding of the topic, we have included details of the Supreme Court, High Courts, and District Courts of the country.

For in-depth knowledge, the composition, judge’s qualification and appointment, removal, term, and jurisdiction of Courts have been included as well.

What is the Judicial System of India?

Under the constitution of India, the judicial system or the judiciary is a single and integrated system of Courts for the Union and States.

It has the Supreme Court as the apex body of the judicial system of India.

By single integrated judiciary, it is meant that:-

The Supreme Court is the head of the Indian judicial system

  • There are no separate sets of laws for civil and criminal system and a single system operates for it throughout the country.
  • The Lower Courts cases can be taken by the High Court and lastly Supreme Court by way of appeal.

India follows a single integrated judiciary system due to the following reasons:-

  • India is a representative democracy and independence of judiciary ensures protection against the executive and legislative interference
  • It stands as an essential requirement of a federal government
  • It ensures the protection of human rights and democracy

What is the structure of the judiciary system of India?

The structure of the judicial system of India has the Supreme Court as the apex body of the system.

The hierarchy is followed by the High Courts, District Courts, Sessions Court, and so on.

Explore in detail the judicial system of India by gaining more insights about the prominent operating Courts in India.

Must Read:- Union Parliament of India

Supreme Court of India

Judicial System of India

Composition

  • The Supreme Court of India has a Chief Justice and not more than 33 judges until prescribed by the Parliament by law.
  • On 9th August 2019, with the assent of the President of India, the number of judges was increased from 30 to 33 through the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act, 2019.

Qualification for judges

  • The person should be a citizen of India
  • Has been a judge of High Court for at least five years or two more such Courts in succession
  • Has been an advocate of a High Court or two or more such Courts in succession for at least 10 years
  • According to the President’s opinion, is a distinguished jurist

Appointment of Judges

The President of India appoints every judge of the Supreme Court. It is done in consultation with the judges of Supreme Court and the High Court alongside the Council of Ministers.

In case of appointment of Judge, the Chief Justice of India shall be consulted (other than the appointment of Chief Justice).

Term and removal of judges

  • A judge of the Supreme Court of India can hold the office until s/he attains the age of 65 years.
  • A judge can resign from the office by submitting a resignation letter to the President.
  • A judge cannot be removed from the office unless an order from the President is passed on the grounds of incapacity or proven misbehaviour.

Also Read:- Salient Features of Indian Constitution

Jurisdiction of Supreme Court of India

It refers to the power of the Supreme Court of law to exercise and carry out judgments and enforce laws.

Supreme Court is the protector and final interpreter of the Constitution. It exercises original, appellate, and advisory jurisdiction.

Original jurisdiction

It refers to the power of the Supreme Court to hear and determine the disputes in the first instance. It means that these cases cannot be moved to any other Court.

Appellate jurisdiction

The power to grant special service leave to appeal against the judgment delivered by any Court in the country is appellate jurisdiction.

This refers to a Court of appeal. Under this, the Supreme Court may change the judgments or reduce the sentences which the Lower Courts pass being the final Court of appeal.

Advisory jurisdiction

The Supreme Court can give its opinion on any question of law or fact of public importance as the President may refer to it for consideration.

The High Court of India

Indian Judiciary

Composition

Every High Court has a Chief Justice and other judges as appointed from time to time by the President of India.

Moreover, the President can appoint additional charges for a temporary period which should not exceed 2 years.

S/he can appoint an acting judge in an instance of the inability or temporary absence of the Chief Justice.

Qualification for judges

  • The person should be a citizen of India
  • Should not be over 62 years of age
  • Should have held a judicial officer in the Indian territory for at least 10 years or have been an advocate of the High Court for at least 10 years
  • Should have been a distinguished Jurist

Appointment of Judges

The Chief Justice of High Court is appointed by the President of India upon consultation with the Governor of the concerned state and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The President appoints other judges of the High Court as per the advice of the Chief Justice of India and The High Court and the Governor of the concerned state.

Term and removal of judges

The judges of the High Court can remain in office until they attain the age of 62 years. They enjoy the security of tenure and cannot hold office beyond the age of 62 years.

The President of India can remove a judge or judges of the High Court on the grounds of proven incapacity or misbehaviour. It should be addressed by both Houses of the Parliament.

The judges can resign from office by writing under his/her hand, addressing to the President.

Salaries and Emoluments

The Chief Justice and other judges of the High Court are entitled to a monthly salary as decided by the Parliament.

They are given other allowances as well like rent-free accommodation and pension after retirement etc.

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Jurisdiction of High Courts of India

The High Court of a State has jurisdiction extending to the territorial limits of the concerned state.

Original Jurisdiction

The High Court has the power to hear and decide cases in the first instance in the following matters:-

  • State revenue and its collection
  • Wills, diverse, marriage, company law and contempt of Court
  • Judicial review
  • Enforcement of fundamental rights and the issue of the rates for enforcement of fundamental rights

Appellate jurisdiction

The High Court can accept appeals against the decision of the District Courts in civil as well as criminal cases.

  • Civil cases such as matters concerning land revenue and blatant injustice committed by any Tribunal.
  • Criminal cases such as appeal against the judgment of a Sessions or Additional Sessions Judge or other judges below the Sessions Judges where the sentence of imprisonment exceeds 7 and 4 years respectively

District Courts of India

Composition

The District Courts consist of District Judges, Additional District Judges and Assistant District Judges.

The number of judges appointed is determined after considering the workload of the specific district.

Qualification for judges

  • S/he should hold a bachelor’s degree in law
  • Practice as an advocate or leader for a minimum of 7 years
  • Can also be appointed by the way of the elevation of judges from the lower courts if the minimum years of service are fulfilled
  • Should clear written examination and oral interview conducted by a committee of High Court Judges.

Appointment of Judges

The governor of the concerned state appoints the judges of the District Court upon consultation with the Chief Justice of the State.

Term and removal of judges

They can enjoy their tenure in the office as specified by the special forces of law prescribed by the state.

The District and Additional judges can be removed from the office by the Governor upon confirmation from the High Court collegium.

Jurisdiction of District Courts of India

The district courts have the power to exercise original and appellate jurisdiction on both Civil and criminal matters which arise in the territorial limits of the district.

The jurisdiction in civil matters is set in the concerned state enactments.

The jurisdiction on the criminal matters is derived from criminal procedure code.

According to the Criminal Procedure Code, the maximum sentence which a Sessions Judge can pass is capital punishment for the Convict.

The court enjoys appellate jurisdiction over all the subordinate courts in the district on both Civil and criminal matters.

How many Courts are there in India?

In India, there is one Supreme Court which is the apex body of the judiciary system of the country.

  • There are 25 The High Courts in India.
  • The newest ones are the Telangana Court and Andhra Pradesh the High Court established in 2019.
  • At the district levels, there are 672 District Courts in India currently.

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