Subordinate Judiciary

Articles 233 to 237 in Part VI of the Constitution make the following provisions to regulate the organization of subordinate courts and to ensure their independence from the executive . Articles 233 to 237 in Part VI of the Constitution make the following provisions to regulate the organization of subordinate courts and to ensure their independence from the executive .

The framework  of the  current  legal  system has been  laid  down by the  Indian  Constitution  , which states for an integrated and uniform judiciary system and  the judicial  system  derives  its  powers  from  it.  There  are  various  levels  of  judiciary  in  India— different  types  of  courts,  each  with  varying  powers  depending  on  the  tier  and  jurisdiction bestowed upon them. They form a hierarchy of importance, in line with the order of courts in which they sit, with the Supreme Court of India at the top, followed by High Courts of respective states with District Judges sitting in District Courts and Magistrates of Second Class and Civil Judge (Junior Division) at the bottom.

Type of cases

  • Civil cases pertain to disputes between two or more persons regarding property, breach of agreement or contract, divorce or landlord – tenant disputes. Civil Courts settle these disputes. They do not award any punishment as violation of law is not involved in civil cases.
  • Criminal cases relate to violation of laws. These cases involve theft, dacoity, rape, pickpocketing, physical assault, murder, etc. These cases are filed in the lower court by the police, on behalf of the state, againt the accused. In such cases the accused, if found guilty, is awarded punishment like fine, imprisonment or even death sentence.
  • Revenue cases relate to land revenue on agriculture land in the district.

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The District Courts of India are presided over by a judge. They administer justice in India at a district level. These courts are under administrative and judicial control of the High Court of the State to which the district concerned belongs.

       The highest court in each district is that of the District and Sessions Judge. This is the principal court of civil jurisdiction. This is also a court of Sessions. Sessions-triable cases are tried by the Sessions Court. It has the power to impose any sentence including capital punishment.

       There are many other courts subordinate to the court of District and Sessions Judge. There is a three tier system of courts. On the civil side, at the lowest level is the court of Civil Judge (Junior Division). On criminal side the lowest court is that of the Judicial Magistrate. Civil Judge (Junior Division) decides civil cases of small pecuniary stake. Judicial Magistrates decide criminal cases which are punishable with imprisonment of up to five years.

       At the middle of the hierarchy there is the Court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) on the civil side and the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate on the Criminal side. Civil Judge (senior division) can decide civil cases of any valuation. There are many additional courts of Additional Civil Judge (senior division).The Jurisdiction of these addition courts is the same as that of the principal court of Civil Judge (Senior Division). The Chief Judicial Magistrate can try cases which are punishable with imprisonment for a term up to seven years. Usually there are many additional courts of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrates. At the top level there may be one or more courts of additional district and sessions judge with the same judicial power as that of the District and Sessions judge.

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