Current Judicial System in India
The Supreme Court, being the highest judicial body in the country holds the last say in any case filed in any lower court, or directly into the supreme court, the only exception is the power of pardon, which lies with the president in criminal cases, who can suspend the sentence awarded even by the supreme court. Supreme Court is a court of record and has the power to punish for its contempt (under Article 129, Constitution of India). Original Jurisdiction (Art. 131) of the Supreme Court comes into play in the matters of dispute between either 2 states, or between center or state, or between the center and more than 2 states, contesting the suit. Supreme Court is given powers to decide such cases in the first instance only, i.e , they can directly be filed there. Supreme Court is the Highest Court of Appeal in the country. Second inline comes, the High Courts. High Courts are also constitutional courts established under Part VI, Chapter V, of the Indian Constitution. High Court stands at the head of State’s Judicial
are also courts of Record and have the power to punish for contempt. With regard to original jurisdiction, powers of the High court is very narrow and limited, only some cases like Election Petitions directly come into the high court, otherwise, primarily High Court is an appellate court. High Courts also have revisional jurisdiction conferred under the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code. Administratively, Each High Court has powers of superintendence over all courts within its jurisdiction. It can call for returns, from such courts, make and issue general rules and prescribed formats to regulate their practices and proceedings and determine the manner and form in which book entries and accounts shall be kept. Last in line, comes the Subordinate Courts . Chapter VI of Part VI of the Indian Constitution has made provisions for subordinate courts related to the judicial system. The structure and Functions of Subordinate Courts are more or less uniform throughout the country. These courts deal with all disputes of civil or criminal nature as per the powers conferred on them. These courts have been derived principally from two important codes prescribing procedures, i.e., the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and the Code of Criminal Procedure.
District or Additional District Judge, Civil Judge (Senior Division) and Civil Judge (Junior Division) on the civil side and on criminal side, Sessions Judge, Additional Sessions Judge, Chief Judicial
Magistrate and Judicial Magistrate, etc., as laid down in the CrPC
The Hierarchy of these civil courts vary in different states. IN Delhi, for instance, there are very broadly following levels of civil courts.
District Judge & his collateral additional District Judge
Senior Civil Judge
Small Cause Courts.
Civil cases up to the monetary value of three Lakhs are filed before the Civil Judges. The Civil cases having a monetary value between three Lakhs and twenty Lakhs are filed before the District Judge or additional district Judge. The Civil cases having a monetary value above twenty Lakhs are filed directly in the High Court.
The Small Cause Courts are established to adjudicate upon small cause matters such as guardianship and custody matters which can be adjudicated in a summary trial that is, without a protracted and
extensive civil trial. Such as courts made under State Lokayukta Acts, Special Courts under Essential Commodities and Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (EC & NDPS Act), also special tribunals dealing with the dispute of tax, Labour , Copyright cases. Also, at remote levels, panchayat courts are constituted, and they compose a system of alternative dispute resolution. They were recognized through the Madras Village Court Act of 1935, in various provinces.