Judiciary in India

The Judiciary is the third branch of the government of India, which deals with the law and delivery of justice. India has a single-integrated system which is independent of the other two.

The Indian administration is divided into three branches- Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. While the first two are interdependent, the Indian judicial system is an independent pillar. A separate pillar means that the Judiciary in India functions or works without the interference of the other two organs of the government. This article will learn about the Judiciary in India and its functioning. Additionally, you will learn about the various types of judges in India and India’s different kinds of courts. It is essential to know about the organ responsible for protecting the Rule of Law and ensuring the supremacy of the law.

Indian Judicial System: Introduction

The Judiciary is the third organ of the government of India. It is the branch that interprets the law, settles disputes and administers justice to the citizens of India. The Judiciary in India is considered to be the watchdog of democracy. Additionally, the Indian judicial system is the Guardian of the Constitution of India.

Independent Judiciary in India

The Indian judicial system must stay an independent and impartial structure. Independence means that the other two branches of the government don’t interfere with the working of the judicial system. The legislature and the executive branches can’t involve themselves in the functioning of the Judiciary in India.

The other two organs respect the decisions made by the Judiciary in India. It also means that the judges can perform their duties without favouring anyone.

Even though the Judiciary in India is independent, it’s not an arbitrary structure. It is a part of the democratic political structure of India. Therefore it is an accountable body. Judiciary in India is answerable to the Constitution of India and the people of India.

Structure of the Indian Judicial System

The Judiciary in India is a single integrated judicial system. It is a pyramid-like structure with the Supreme Court of India right at the top. After which, the High Courts follow and then, the District and in the end, are the subordinate courts. The lower courts function under the direct superintendence of the courts above them.

Here is the structure of the Judiciary:

  • Supreme Court of India

It is the highest court in the Indian judicial system, established as the Part V of the Indian Constitution. The decisions made by the Supreme Court are binding to all the subordinate courts. Additionally, it can transfer judges of the High Courts. Supreme courts can move cases from the other courts to themselves. Lastly, it can transfer a matter from one High Court to another.

  • High Court of India

This is the second most important court in the Indian judicial system. It is established according to Article 141 of the Constitution. The High Court can hear appeals from the lower courts and issue writs for Fundamental Rights. Additionally, the High Court can deal with the cases within the jurisdiction of the State. High Courts have the power to exercise superintendence and control over the courts below them.

  • District Courts

The District Courts are the following most essential courts in the Indian judicial system. These courts deal with the cases which arise in the District. District courts consider appeals on decisions which the lower courts give. Additionally, the district courts also decide on matters which involve serious criminal offences.

  • Subordinate Courts

These are the last courts in the structure of the Indian judicial system. They take up cases that are civil and criminal.

Apart from the different types of courts above, there are two more branches of the legal system in India. Here are the two branches of the judicial system in India:

  1. Criminal Law deals with cases when a citizen or an entity commits a crime. A point is registered when the local police file a crime report. The court finally gives the verdict on the criminal cases on the matter.
  2. Civil Law: It deals with the cases when there is a dispute over the violation of the Fundamental Rights of a citizen.

Role of the Judiciary

The Judiciary in India has many functions like:

  1. Administration of justice: The primary function of the Judiciary in India is to apply the law to specific cases where it needs to settle disputes. When any dispute is brought before the courts, its function is to determine the facts through evidence presented by the contesting people. The court then decides what law applies to the case and applies it. When the court finds someone found guilty of violating the law in the trial, the court will give a sentence on the penalty of the guilty person.
  2. Creation of judge-case law: In cases, judges cannot select the appropriate direction that applies to the topic. They make decisions based on their wisdom and common sense. When these decisions happen, they build up a body of ‘judge-made law’ or ‘case law’. The previous decisions of the judges are generally regarded as binding later on for judges in similar cases.
  3. Guardian of the Constitution: The Supreme Court is the guardian of the Constitution. The court decides any conflicts between the central government and the state governments. If a law or order violates any constitutional provision, the Supreme Court can declare it null and void.
  4. Protector of Fundamental Rights: One of the main functions of the Judiciary is to make sure that people’s rights are not trampled upon by the State or anyone else. The Supreme Court enforces the Fundamental Rights by issuing writs.

Judges in the Judiciary

According to the Constitution, the Supreme Court can have 1 Chief Justice and 34 other judges. Besides these judges, there are High Court judges, Additional District & Session Judge, and Chief Judicial Magistrate.

The President of India appoints the Chief Justice and the 34 other judges. The Supreme Court can have a maximum strength of 34 judges.

Each High Court has a different number of judges. The President appoints the judges of the High Courts in the state.