Indian Judicial System
The Indian Judicial System has the Supreme Court of India at its helm, which at present is located only in the capital city of Delhi, without any benches in any part of the nation, and is presided by the Chief Justice of India.
The Supreme Court of India has many Benches for the litigation, and this apex court is not only the final court of permissible Appeal, but also deals with interstate matters, and matters comprising of more than one state, and the matters between the Union Government and any one or more states, as the matters on its original side. The President of India can always seek consultation and guidance including the opinion of the apex court and its judges. This court also has powers to punish anybody for its own contempt.
The largest bench of the Supreme Court of India is called the Constitution Bench and comprises of 5 or 7 judges, depending on the importance attached of the matters before it, as well as the work load of the court.
The apex court comprises only of various benches comprising of the Divisional benches of 2 and 3 judges, and the Full benches of 3 or 5 judges.
The Appeals to this court are allowed from the High Court, only after the matter is deemed to be important enough on the point of law or on the subject of the constitution of the nation, and is certified as such by the relevant High Court.
In the absence of any certificate from the High Court, a person may, with the leave of the apex court, appeal to this court, by filing a Special Leave Petition before the court.
A person or body may also file a Writ against the violation of Fundamental Rights granted under the Constitution of India, with the permission of the apex court.
Certain writs are allowed to be instituted in the apex court directly, against the orders of the Courts of the Court Martial, and the Central Administrative Tribunals.
Every State has a High Court, which works under the direct guidance and supervision of the Supreme Court of India, and is the uppermost court in that state, and generally the last court of regular appeals. Though generally the High Courts are only the courts of Appeal, however in the three presidency towns (As the British had then termed) of Mumbai [Bombay], Chennai [Madras] and Kolkata [Calcutta], the High Courts also have powers of the original Side beyond a certain financial limit.
The High Courts are also termed as the courts of equity, and can be approached in writs not only for violation of fundamental rights under the provisions of Article 32 of the Indian constitution, but also for any other rights under Article 226 of the Constitution, and under its powers to supervise over all its subordinate courts falling within the physical jurisdiction of the same under Article 227 of the Constitution. In fact, when apparently there is no effective remedy available to a person in equity, it can always move the High Court in an appropriate writ.
High Courts frame their own rules, and arrange to implement them.
Under certain provisions of Law, the High Courts have the ordinary original civil jurisdiction.
Many times the High Courts have concurrent jurisdiction along with its subordinate courts, for effective remedy at the earliest.
All the High Courts have different division benches in different parts of the respective states for speedier cheaper and effective dispensing of justice.
For the purpose of disposal of its business, the Judges in the High Court, either sit singly or in benches of two or more judges in benches for deciding more important matters.
District Judges: These courts are primarily Civil Courts to hear generally the appeals from the courts of original civil jurisdiction in the Districts and Tehsils (Talukas). However these courts have also been given original civil jurisdiction under many enactments.
Sessions Judges: These courts are primarily Criminal Courts, with jurisdiction to revise the orders from the subordinate magistrates as well as to try serious offences, as prescribed by law.
Appellate Co-Operative Courts: These courts hear only the Appeals and revisions emanating from the judgments and orders of the subordinate original Co-Operative Courts and officers, under the provisions of various Co-Operative and related laws.
Appellate Labor Courts: These courts hear only the Appeals and revisions emanating from the judgments and orders of the subordinate original
Labor Courts and officers, under the provisions of various labor and related laws.
Income Tax Tribunals: These courts though being primarily administrative in nature, yet they hear the Appeals and revisions emanating from the judgments and orders of the subordinate officers of the department, under the provisions of the Income Tax and other relevant laws.
Central Excise Tribunal: These courts though being primarily administrative in nature, yet they hear the Appeals and revisions emanating from the judgments and orders of the subordinate officers of the department, under the provisions of the Central Excise Act and other relevant laws.
Sales Tax Tribunals: These courts though being primarily administrative in nature, yet they hear the Appeals and revisions emanating from the judgments and orders of the subordinate officers of the department, under the provisions of the Sales Tax and other relevant laws of both the union government as well as various state governments.
City Civil & Sessions Courts: These Courts are only in the Presidency Towns of Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, and are primarily Civil Courts of original jurisdiction of higher monetary valued suits, however these courts have also been given powers of certain appeals against its subordinate small causes courts. The sessions courts are primarily Criminal Courts, with jurisdiction to revise the orders from the subordinate metropolitan magistrates as well as to try serious offences, as prescribed by law.
Accident Claims Tribunals: These tribunal try only the Claims of the victims of various road and rail accidents. Though there are very few rail Accident tribunals, however there is generally at least one Motor Accident Claims Tribunals in every district. These courts have a completely different Court Fees structure compared to those of the regular civil courts of original jurisdiction.
Revenue Tribunals and other subordinate Revenue Courts:
There are various revenue Tribunals and other subordinate revenue Appellate bodies in the administrative hierarchy of the Revenue Departments of various State Governments to hear the matters pertaining to the land revenue and other relevant laws of various states.
Special Courts: The governments from time to time also appoint certain Special Courts to try particular matters deemed to be very important for public life, and for expeditiously trying these matters, which are mainly treated as very grave and heinous compared to the actual charges of sections framed against the persons tried, mainly as leading public enemies.
There are also other courts not subordinate to any of the High Courts, but where only a writ may lie before the High Court or only to the Supreme Court
Administrative Tribunals: The Central Government as well as the State Governments have set up various administrative tribunals for the purpose of conducting various disciplinary actions against their senior and other employees, as well as for their grievance redressal. These tribunals work under special laws framed, and form an hierarchical pattern for the conduct of their business.
Military and other similar Courts:
These Courts also known for their procedure called Court Marshall, are made in the administrative hierarchy o the army, navy and air force of the nation under various acts governing them individually, and are completely separated from any other procedure or court, though still well within the four corners of the national constitution.
(also called the Original courts - due to the litigation begins mostly in these courts)
Principal Civil Judges (SD & JD):
Depending on the monetary jurisdiction assigned to the category of the court, all the civil litigation matters are filed before the courts of the original civil jurisdiction, either the Senior Division or the Junior Division. Most of the times there are more than one Judges of the Junior Division in every Tehsil, and of Senior Division in every District.
The Chief Judicial Magistrates and other Judicial Magistrates of First Class:
Every district is headed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate who heads over the other Judicial Magistrates of First Class in every Tehsil, these courts being primary criminal courts, where every offender is first produced after arrest by the police.
Special Executive Magistrates: These and other Magistrates of the Second class are appointed for trying of very minor criminal offences and quasi criminal matters, and generally report directly to and are subordinate to the Chief Judicial Magistrates, who also generally hears appeals against the orders passed by these magistrates.
Co-Operative Courts: These courts are courts with original jurisdiction, formed for hearing the cases directly filed under the various Co-Operative Laws, and also in the form of appeal against certain administrative orders of the Co-Operative Registrars and Sub-Registrars.
Co-Operative Registrar: Works as per the assignment and powers granted under various Co-Operative laws, and generally hold supervisory judicial powers including those of revision of the orders of the Sub-Registrars of Co-Operatives, directly subordinate to them.
Co-Operative Sub-Registrar: The officers of the lowest rank, who can entertain and decide various applications under various Co-Operative Laws.
Labor Courts: These Courts normally found in every District, are the courts of original jurisdiction under the provisions of various
Labor Laws and enactments, including powers to enforce various rules framed under those enactments.
Tax officers' hierarchy: There is an hierarchy of officers in various and different Government departments of taxation, who decide not only the original applications and matters, but also entertain appeals against the orders of their hierarchical subordinates.
Small Causes Courts: These courts, a legacy of the British Raj, are the courts of original civil jurisdiction in minor civil matters and litigation and only in the presidency towns of Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. Though under certain acts, exclusive jurisdiction, irrespective of the monetary valuation of the subject matter, is granted to these courts.
Courts of the Metropolitan Magistrates: Again another legacy of the British Raj, these courts are the courts of original criminal jurisdiction in the presidency towns of Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. Though under certain acts, exclusive jurisdiction, where every offender is first produced after arrest by the police.
Revenue Officers' hierarchy: All the matters pertaining to the Land revenue, an exclusive state subject, are decided at various levels by certain officers of the revenue departments of the State governments, the lowest of them being the Talathi of Patwari at Village level, going up to the Circle Inspector, by whichever name known, and supervised in effect by the officers of the rank of Tehsildar - also known in many places as the Mamletdar, who also get their powers many a times under special laws framed for their conduct of allocated business, and for the procedure to be followed in their
courts. Normally an appeal lies form the orders of each one of the afore stated officers in the hierarchy of the Land Revenue Officers before an officer of the rank of an Assistant Collector, being the person in-charge of a part of a revenue district, who in turn reports to and is subjudicated by the Collector in the district, and further in the hierarchical order by a Divisional Commissioner heading a group of revenue districts in a state, who are all under the State level Revenue Tribunal.
Similar to the hierarchy in the Land revenue Department, there are various hierarchies in also the other government and semi-government departments, who basically decide on the routine administrative and Human Resources as well as the disciplinary matters, including the conduct of the internal enquiries, and in all these hierarchies, there are always superior officers appointed at various stages, to supervise, overlook and even hear appeals against the orders passed by the hierarchically subordinate officers of various such departments.
Police hierarchy: Similar to the previous hierarchies of various Departments, there are certain matters routinely handled by superior officers of the ranks of Assistant Police Commissioners and Deputy superintendent of Police (the rank at the initialisation stages of the officers of the Indian Police Service Rank) which handle various minor criminal matters like externment, habitual offenders, property possession disputes leading to breach of law and order etc., against whose orders appeals can be made to higher officials in the same hierarchy.