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Hierarchy of Courts

Administration of Justice Most essential function of the State. Power exercised by the State through judiciary to enforce rights and punish wrongs. It involves two parties - Plaintiff and Defendant in civil cases - Complainant and Accused or - Prosecution and Accused in criminal cases Judicial Process involves - A right claimed or a wrong complained by one party against the other. - Hearing of the parties by the Court. - Judgment of the Court delivered at the end of the trial. - Execution of the operative part of the judgment.

System of Courts in India At National level Supreme Court of India At State level High Court At District and Subordinate level Subordinate Courts (Civil and Criminal)

Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court Court of Record. Has power to punish for contempt. (A.129) Original Jurisdiction. (A.131) Highest Court of Appeal in the country. (A.132, 133, 134 & 136) Writ jurisdiction.(A.32) Advisory Jurisdiction.(A.143) Law declared by the Supreme Court binding on all Courts in India.(A.141)

Jurisdiction of the High Court Court of Record. Has power to punish for contempt. (A.215) Original Jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in the case of some High Courts. Appellate jurisdiction in respect of criminal and civil cases decided by Subordinate courts. Revisional Jurisdiction conferred under the Civil Procedure Code and Criminal Procedure Code. Writ jurisdiction.(A.226) Administrative Jurisdiction over subordinate courts.

Organization of the courts at District level Civil Courts subordinate to the High Court administering civil justice. Civil justice is remedial and is concerned with enforcement of rights. Proceedings in Civil Courts are regulated by Civil Procedure Code. Criminal Justice is punitive and is concerned with punishing the offenders. Proceedings in Criminal Courts are regulated by Criminal Procedure Code.

Civil Courts subordinate to the High Court In Cities First Grade Chief Judge and Additional Chief Judge Second Grade Assistant Chief Judge or Senior Civil Judge Third Grade Munsif or Junior Civil Judge In Districts First Grade District Judge and Additional District Judge Second Grade Assistant District Judge or Senior Civil Judge Third Grade Munsif or Junior Civil Judge

District Judge - Head of civil justice administration in the district. Chief Judge - Head of civil justice administration in the city.

Additional Chief Judges and Additional District Judges Assist the Chief Judge and District Judge in administering civil justice Judges of First grade and Second grade possess both original and appellate jurisdiction. Judges of First grade may be conferred with revisional powers also. Small Causes Courts are constituted under the Provincial Small Causes Courts Act. It tries only such suits which are triable only by such courts. Matters of small nature, not involving questions of title are tried by Small Causes Courts. Procedure followed by these courts are simpler and shorter than that of an ordinary civil courts.

Criminal Courts Subordinate to the High Court


CourtofSession (SessionsJudge,Addl.SessionsJudge,Asst.SessionsJudges)

ChiefJudicialMagistrate (Indistricts)

ChiefMetropolitanMagistrate (Incities)

SubDivisionalJudicialMagistrates (Insubdivisions)

Special Magistrates

JudicialMagistrate ofFirstClass

JudicialMagistrate ofSecondClass

Metropolitan Magistrate

JudicialMagistrate ofFirstClass

JudicialMagistrate ofSecondClass

State divided into Sessions divisions. (Usually districts) Each Sessions division has a Court of Session. Presiding Officer of Court of Session is Sessions Judge. He is assisted by Additional and Assistant Sessions Judge. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate In charge of city Chief Judicial Magistrate In charge of district Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate In charge of sub - division. All the Judicial Magistrates of I class and II class including Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Chief Judicial Magistrate and Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate are subordinate to Sessions Judge.

Sentencing Power of different Trial Courts Sessions Judge and Additional Sessions Judge Any sentence authorized by law. But death sentence to be confirmed by the High Court Imprisonment upto 10 years and fine authorized by law Imprisonment upto 7 years and fine authorized by law Imprisonment upto 3 years and fine not exceeding Rs. 10000. Imprisonment upto 1 year and fine not exceeding Rs. 5000

Assistant Sessions Judge

Chief Judicial Magistrate Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Judicial Magistrate of I class Metropolitan Magistrate Judicial Magistrate of II class

In pursuance of the scheme of separation of executive from the judiciary (u/A 50 of the Constitution) Two categories of Magistrates created. Judicial Magistrates Appointed and controlled by the High Court and discharge judicial functions. Executive Magistrates Appointed and controlled by the State Government and discharge executive functions, i.e., maintenance of law and order.

Executive Magistracy For Districts - District Magistrates - Additional District Magistrates - Executive Magistrates

For Subdivision - Sub-Divisional Magistrate - Additional Sub-Divisional Magistrate - Executive Magistrates

COURTS AND PROCEDURE Law is an instrument of social control. It is a rule of conduct. The object of law is to give everyone his due. Whenever wrongs are committed against the society or individuals law steps in . Wrongs committed against the society are called crimes. It is the duty of the State to protect the society from offenders. So crimes are considered as offences against the State and prosecutors have been appointed by the Government to conduct criminal cases before Courts of Law. However, disputes relating to property, breach of contracts, wrongs committed in money transactions, minor omissions etc are categorized as civil wrongs. In such cases civil suits should be instituted by the aggrieved persons. Courts of law administer justice by considering the nature of the wrong done. Criminals are convicted and punished before criminal courts. Civil wrongs are redressed before civil courts by granting injunctions or by payment of damages or compensation to the aggrieved party. The hierarchy of civil courts is given below. Every suit should be instituted before the court of lowest jurisdiction. In the civil side the Munsif's Court is the court of lowest jurisdiction. If the value of the subject matter of the suit is worth rupees one lakh or below, the Munsiff's Court is the competent court to try the suit. If the value exceeds above rupees one lakh the suit should be filed before the Subordinate Judge's Court (Sub Court). An appeal from the decisions of the Munsiff is filed before the District Court. Appeals from the decisions of the Sub Court are filed before the District Court if the subject matter of the suit is of value up to rupees two lakhs. If the value is above two lakhs, the appeal should be filed before the High Court and next to the Supreme Court. Supreme Court

High Court

District Court

Sub. Court

Munsiffs Court Administration of criminal justice is carried out through Magistrate- Courts and Sessions courts. The hierarchy of criminal courts is given below. The Court at the lowest level is called Judicial Magistrate of the second class. This Court is competent to try the case if the offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or with fine not exceeding five thousand rupees, or with both. The First Class Magistrate is competent to try offences punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or with fine upto ten thousand rupees. In Kerala, the second and the First Class Magistrate Courts have been unified The Chief Judicial Magistrate can impose any fine and punishment up to seven years imprisonment. The Assistant Sessions Judge is competent to impose punishments up to ten years imprisonment and any fine. The Sessions Judge can impose any punishment authorized by law; but the sentence of death passed by him should be subject to the confirmation by the High Court. (see for details Sections 28 and 29 of Criminal Procedure Code.) Supreme Court

Supreme Court

High Court

Sessions Court

Asst. Sessions Court

Chief Judicial Magistrate's Court

The First Class Magistrate's Court

The Second Class Magistrates Court

High Court High Court stands at the head of a State's judicial administration. Each High Court comprises of a Chief Justice and such other Judges as the President may, from time to time, appoint. 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. The procedure for appointing other Judges is the same except that the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned is also consulted. They hold office until the age of 62 years and are removable only by the rare process of impeachment. Each High Court has power to issue to any person within its jurisdiction writs, orders or directions. Writs are in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari for enforcement of Fundamental Rights and for any other purpose. Each High Court has powers of superintendence over all Courts and Tribunals within its jurisdiction. It can call for returns from such Courts, make and issue general rules and prescribe forms to regulate their practice and proceedings and determine the manner and form in which book entries and accounts shall be kept. The High Court has the power to withdraw cases from the subordinate courts if the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the constitution. Supreme Court The Supreme Court the highest court in the country. It has original, appellate and advisory jurisdiction. Their exclusive original jurisdictions extend to Central-State and inter State disputes. In addition, Article 32 of the Constitution gives an extensive original jurisdiction to the Supreme Court for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights. It is empowered to issue directions, orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari to enforce them. The Supreme Court, if satisfied that cases involving substantially the same questions of law of general importance are pending before it and the High Courts, it may withdraw such case and dispose them by itself. The appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court can be invoked both civil and criminal cases, if the High Court certifies that the case involves a substantial questions of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution. Appeals also lie to the Supreme Court in civil matters if the High Court concerned certifies: (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. In criminal cases, an appeal lies to the Supreme Court if the High Court (a) has on appeal reversed an order of acquittal of an accused person and sentenced him to death (b) has

withdrawn for trial before itself any case from any Court subordinate to its authority and has in such trial convicted the accused and sentenced him to death. (c) Certified that the case is a fit one for appeal to the Supreme Court. Parliament is authorized to confer on the Supreme Court any further powers to entertain and hear appeals from any judgment, final order or sentence in a criminal proceeding of a High Court. The Supreme Court has the power to grant special leave to appeal under Article 136 of the Constitution from any judgment, decree, determination, sentence or order in any cause or matter passed or made by any Court or Tribunal in the territory of India. The Supreme Court has special advisory jurisdiction in matters which may specifically be referred to it by the President of India under Article 143 of the Constitution. Writs Article 32 of the Constitution confers original jurisdiction on the Supreme Court to issue directions, orders or writs for the enforcement of fundamental rights. Similar powers are conferred on the High Court under article 226 of the Constitution. The writ jurisdiction of the High court is wider than that of the Supreme Court. The High Court can issue writs for the violation of fundamental rights or for any other purpose. There are five types of Writs- Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, Certiorari and Quo warranto. Habeas Corpus: "Habeas Corpus" is a Latin term which literally means "you may have the body." The writ is issued to release a person who has been detained unlawfully whether in prison or in private custody. When the writ is issued, the detenue should be produced before the Court and if the detention is found illegal the Court will order that he be immediately released. However in Kanu sanyal Vs District Magistrate, Darjeeling (A.I.R.1974S.C 510) The Supreme Court held that while dealing with the application of writ of habeas corpus, production of the body of the person alleged to be unlawfully detained was not essential. Mandamus: Mandamus is a Latin word, which means "We Command". Mandamus is an order from the Supreme Court or High Court to a lower court or tribunal or public authority to perform a public or statutory duty. It is issued to secure the performance of public duties and to enforce private rights withheld by the public authorities. Certiorari: Literally, Certiorari means to be certified. The writ of certiorari can be issued by the Supreme Court or any High Court for quashing the order already passed by an inferior court, tribunal or quasijudicial authority. . There are several conditions necessary for the issue of writ of certiorari (a) there should be court, tribunal or an officer having legal authority to determine the question with a duty to act judicially. (b) Such a court, tribunal or officer must have passed order acting without jurisdiction or in excess of the judicial authority vested by law in such court, tribunal or officer. (c) The order could also be against the principles of natural justice or (d) it could contain an error of judgment in appreciating the facts of the case. Writs of Prohibition The Writ of prohibition means to forbid or to stop and it is popularly known as 'Stay Order'. This writ is issued when a lower court or a body tries to transgress the limits or powers vested in it. The writ of prohibition is issued by any High Court or the Supreme Court to any inferior court, or quasi

judicial body prohibiting the latter from continuing the proceedings in a particular case, where it has no jurisdiction to try. After the issue of this writ, proceedings in the lower court etc. come to a stop. While the writ of prohibition is available at the earlier stage, the writ of certiorari is available on similar grounds at a later stage. It can also be said that the writ of prohibition is available during the pendency of proceedings the writ of certiorari can be resorted to only after the order or decision has been announced. The Writ of Quo-Warranto The word Quo-Warranto literally means "by what warrants?" or "what is your authority"? It is a writ issued with a view to restrain a person from holding a public office which he is not entitled. The writ of quo-warranto is used to prevent illegal assumption of any public office or usurpation of any public office by anybody. For example, a person of 62 years has been appointed to fill a public office whereas the retirement age is 60 years. Now, the appropriate High Court has a right to issue a writ of quo-warranto against the person and declare the office vacant. Handling of Government Cases Before the Criminal Courts, the Public Prosecutors conduct cases for the State. Government Pleaders have been appointed to conduct civil cases for the government. However the necessary feedback to successfully defend the case should be supplied by the Department concerned. Officials of the concerned Government Department should read the petition carefully and prepare a detailed statement of facts and send it to the Government pleader or prosecutor concerned at the earliest .The following matters should be considered while preparing the Statement of Facts. 1. Give a brief history of the case in the beginning. 2. Read the petition carefully and answer paragraph by paragraph, ground by ground 3. Every averment and allegation must be answered 4. Clubbing of paragraphs should be avoided. Cross reference can be made. 5. Costs should be claimed in fit cases. (e.g. frivolous and vexatious litigation) Follow up action 1. Pursue the matter with Government Pleaders 2. If there is an interim stay against the Government, get it vacated. 3. Get copies of judgments in time. Delay may affect the right to appeal. 4. Execution of decrees/orders favorable to the Government must be ensured and implemented. 5. Decree amount should be deposited in time to avoid additional payment by way of interest etc. Lack of vigilance and responsibility on the part of Prosecutors and Govt. Pleaders often lead to the failure of govt. cases. If the officials of the concerned Govt. Dept. are cautious and make timely inquiries and communications with Government Pleaders, the interest of the Government can be protected in such cases.