Judicial System
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Judicial System of India


Indian Supreme Court building

Judicial System

The Judicial system comprises of Supreme court, High courts and Lok adalats. The Supreme Court is the apex court in the country. The High Court stands at the head of the state's judicial administration. Each state is divided into judicial districts presided over by a district and sessions judge, who is the highest judicial authority in a district. Below him, there are courts of civil jurisdiction, known in different states as munisifs, sub-judges, civil judges and the like. Similarly, criminal judiciary comprises chief judicial magistrate and judicial magistrates of first and second class.

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has original, appellate and advisory jurisdiction. Its exclusive original jurisdiction extends to all disputes between the Union and one or more states or between two or more states. The Constitution gives an extensive original jurisdiction to the Supreme Court to enforce Fundamental Rights

Appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court can be invoked by a certificate of the High Court concerned or by special leave granted by the Supreme Court in respect of any judgement, decree or final order of a High Court in cases both civil and criminal, involving substantial questions of law as to the interpretation of the constitution. The President may consult the Supreme Court on any question of fact or law of public importance.

The Supreme Court of India comprises of the Chief Justice and not more than 25 other Judges appointed by the President. Judges hold office till 65 years of age.

The High Courts

There are 18 High Courts in the country, three having jurisdiction over more than one state. Bombay High Court has the jurisdiction over Maharashtra, Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. Guwahati High Court, which was earlier known as Assam High Court, has the jurisdiction over Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. Punjab and Haryana High Court has the jurisdiction over Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

Among the Union Territories, Delhi alone has had a High Court of its own. The other six Union Territories come under jurisdiction of different state High Courts.

The Chief Justice of a High Court is appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the Governor of the state. Each High Court has powers of superintendence over all courts within its jurisdiction. High Court judges retire at the age of 62.

The jurisdiction as well as the laws administered by a High Court can be altered both by the Union and State Legislatures. Certain High Courts, like those at Bombay, Calcutta and Madras, have original and appellate jurisdictions. Under the original jurisdiction suits, where the subject matter is valued at Rs.25,000 or more, can be filed directly in the High Court. Most High Courts have only appellate jurisdiction.

The Lok Adalat

Lok Adalats are voluntary agencies for resolution of disputes through conciliatory method.