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Type Of Courts

UNDERSTANDING TYPES OF COURTS IN INDIA

Judicial Structure Of India Courts

In India, justice is delivered through a court of law. The Indian Constitution outlines the setup of Indian courts to administer the functioning of the laws within the country. Indian judicial system has different types of courts. The types of courts in India are given below:

Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court of India is the highest or the apex judicial forum and final court of appeal as established by Part V, Chapter IV of the Constitution of India. It is located in Delhi, with no other benches in any part of the country. It is presided by the Chief Justice of India.

Primarily, the Supreme Court is the court of appellate jurisdiction (Article 132 to 136). In case of violation of Fundamental Rights granted under the Constitution of India, a Writ petition (Article 32 (2)) can be filed in the Supreme Court of India. In addition, the Supreme Court has Original Jurisdiction and advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (Article 143). The Supreme Court and High Courts also enjoy the power of judicial review.

High Court:

The High Court is the highest courts at the States and Union Territories level. The High Court is bound by the judgments and orders of the Supreme Court of India by precedence. There are 24 High Courts in different states of India. Additionally, the High Courts have different division benches in different parts of the respective states for speedier cheaper and effective dispensing of justice.

Principally, the High Court also enjoy the appellate jurisdiction (Article 225), correspondingly High Courts at Calcutta, Mumbai, Delhi, and Chennai also enjoy original jurisdiction (Article 225). In case of violation of Fundamental Rights and ÔÇÿfor any other purposeÔÇÖ found in Article 226, an aggrieved party can approach the High Court by filing a Writ Petition.

Various Tribunals and Appellate Boards:

The Indian Judicial System also consists of many Tribunals and Appellate Boards constituted for a specific purpose. The power, jurisdiction, and procedure of these forums are generally governed by the States constituting them. Intellectual Property Appellate Board (“IPAB”) is one of the most prominent among these forums and it enjoys appellate as well as original jurisdiction in IP matters.

District and Session Courts:

Depending upon the population and the number of cases, every district in India has its own District and Sessions Court. The District and Sessions Courts are under the direct control of the High Court of the state in which the district belongs.

Generally, each state is divided into judicial districts presided over by a ‘District and Sessions Judge’. He is known as a District Judge when he presides over a civil case, and a Sessions Judge when he presides over a criminal case. He is the highest judicial authority at the district level. Constitution of courts below this level varies from state to state.

WHAT IS THE HIERCHARY OF THE COURTS IN INDIA?

Indian judicial system has a hierarchy of courts. A major question posed here is which court should an individual go in case of a dispute? Let us understand this hierarchy:

WHAT IS THE STRUCTURE OF COMMERCIAL COURTS IN INDIA?

Commercial Courts in India were setup after the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of the High Courts Act, 2015 came into force on October 23, 2015. The Commercial Courts are courts having original civil jurisdiction to try commercial suits valuing INR 1 Crore and above. The structure of Commercial Courts in India is as follows:

What is the structure of the Intellectual Property Office in India?

The office of Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks (CGPDTM) is the regulating authority with respect to Intellectual Property Regime in India. It administers the IP laws in India in order to create an environment of strong and vibrant IP system. Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), constituted on September 15, 2003, is empowered  to hear and resolve the appeals against decisions, orders or directions of the registrar under CGPDTM. It has original jurisdiction to adjudicate. In 2017, the Copyright Board was taken over by IPAB and hence now all the copyright cases are adjudicated by IPAB. The structure of Indian IP Office is as follows:

Court Structure in trademark disputes

Court Structure in matters involving Infringement of Trademark and Passing Off/ Criminal Proceedings

What are the roles and powers of the Supreme Court in the Indian Judicial System?

The Supreme Court of India holds the top most position in the Indian Judicial System. It is located  in Delhi, with no other benches in any part of the country. It is presided by the Chief Justice of India. The Supreme Court comprises only of various benches comprising of the Divisional benches of 2 or 3 judges, and. The largest bench of 5 or 7 judges in India sits in Supreme Court and called the Constitutional Bench.

Primarily, the Supreme Court is the court of appellate jurisdiction (Article 132 to 136) wherein the appeals are allowed from the High Court, only after the matter is deemed to be important enough on the point of law or on the subject of the constitution of the nation, and is certified as such by the relevant High Court. If the High Court refuses to give such certificate, the individual can appeal to Supreme Court by filing a Special Leave Petition under Article 136. Special leave petition can also be filed against any judgment, decree, determination, sentence or order passed by any court or tribunal in the territory of India in any matter. The exception to this rule is the orders, judgments etc passed by any court or tribunal constituted by or under any law relating to the Armed Forces.

In case of violation of Fundamental Rights granted under the Constitution of India, a Writ petition (Article 32 (2)) can be filed in the Supreme Court of India.. In addition, Supreme Court has Original Jurisdiction in case a dispute arises between:

  • The Government of India and one or more states or
  • The Union Government and any State or States on the one side and one or more States on the other,
  • Two or more states, if the disputes involves a legal right.

The President of the Republic can ask the Supreme Court for its opinion, in case any question of law or fact of public importance for its opinion. This is the advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (Article 143). Moreover, Supreme Court also enjoys the power of Judicial Review (Article 137). 

WHAT ARE THE ROLES AND POWERS OF THE HIGH COURTS IN THE INDIAN JUDICIAL SYSTEM?

The High Court are the highest courts at the States and Union Territories level. It works under the direct guidance and supervision of the Supreme Court of India. The High Court is bound by the judgements and orders of the Supreme Court of India by precedence. There are 24 High Courts in different states of India. Additionally, the High Courts have different division benches in different parts of the respective states for speedier cheaper and effective dispensing of justice.

Principally, the High Court also enjoy the appellate jurisdiction (Article 225), correspondingly High Courts at Calcutta, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai also enjoy original jurisdiction (Article 225). In case of violation of Fundamental Rights and ‘for any other purpose’ found in Article 226, an aggrieved party can approach the High Court by filing a Writ Petition.

The High Courts in India are treated as the Court of Record as they have the power to pronounce punishment for contempt of court.

WHAT ARE THE ROLES AND POWERS OF THE DISTRICT AND SESSIONS COURTS IN THE INDIAN JUDICIAL SYSTEM?

Depending upon the population and the number of cases, every district in India has its own District and Sessions Court. The District and Sessions Courts are under the direct control of the High Court of the state in which the district belongs.

The lower court (e.g. Nyaya Panchayat or Munsiffs court) deals with minor cases while the higher courts (e.g., subordinate Judge’s court or District Judge’s court) deal with important cases.

The Jurisdiction of the District and Sessions Court is limited to the districts in which they are situated. The jurisdiction of the District and Sessions Court is defined not just by the territorial limits but also by the pecuniary limits laid down by the legislature. The district court has appellate jurisdiction over all subordinate courts situated in the district on both civil and criminal matters. Judicial independence of each court is the characteristic feature of the district judiciary.

ARE THERE ANY OTHER TYPES OF COURTS IN INDIA?

Yes, there are three more types of courts in India. These are:

  1. TRIBUNALS AND APPELLATE BOARDS: These are constituted for a specific purpose. The Statutes constituting them generally govern the power, jurisdiction, and procedure of these forums. Intellectual Property Appellate Board (‘IPAB’) is one of the most prominent among these forums it enjoys appellate as well as original jurisdiction in IP matters.
  2. SPECIAL COURTS: These are court of limited jurisdiction, that deals with a particular field of law rather than a particular territorial jurisdiction.
  3. LOK ADALATS: These are the courts, which are organized by the High Court Legal Services Committee or District Legal Services Authority or Taluk Legal Services Committee for amicably settling a dispute between parties by way of compromise.

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