- 1 New Terms
- 2 Important Notes
- 2.1 Judiciary
- 2.2 Functions of Judiciary
- 2.3 The functions of Indian judicial system are :
- 2.4 Structure of Courts in India
- 2.5 Supreme Court
- 2.6 Functions of High Court
- 2.7 The functions of District Court are :
- 2.8 PIL
- 2.9 FIR
- 2.10 Integrated judicial System
- 2.11 Judicial Review
- 2.12 Judiciary is important for the functioning of the democracy in India
- 2.13 Independence of Judiciary
- 2.14 Implications of Judicial Activism and PIL
Acquit: This refers to the court declaring that an individual is not guilty for the crime which he was tried for by the court.
Eviction: In context of this chapter, it refers to the removal of individuals from homes/land which they are currently living in.
Judicial system: This is the mechanism of courts which a citizen may approach when a law is violated.
Judicial review: The judiciary has the power to modify or cancel such laws passed by the Parliament, which do not adhere to the Constitution. This is called Judicial Review.
Judiciary : Judiciary is an organ of government which settles disputes through interpretation of law.
Separation of power :It refers to division of powers between the central and state governments.
To appeal : In context of this chapter, it refers to a petition filed before a higher court to hear a case which has already been decided by a lower court.
Violation: This refers to breaking a law or encroachment of an individual’s Fundamental Rights.
Importance of Judiciary
Judiciary is important as it settles disputes and performs several other interpretative functions. Independence of judiciary is necessary to protect the liberty of individuals. It is the foundation stone of democracy.
Functions of Judiciary
(i) Dispute Resolution: The judicial system provides a mechanism for resolving disputes between citizens, between citizens and the government, between two state governments and between the Centre and State government.
(ii) Judicial Review: As the final interpreter of the Constitution, the judiciary also has the power to strike down particular laws passed by the parliament if it believes that these are a violation of the basic structure of the Constitution. This is called judicial review.
(iii) Upholding the Law and Enforcing Fundamental rights: Every citizen of India can approach the Supreme Court or the High Court if they believe that their Fundamental Rights have been violated.
The functions of Indian judicial system are :
The Supreme Court is the Indian judicial system. The Supreme Court has an extensive jurisdiction, i.e., original, appellate and advisory.
(i) Original Jurisdiction : It extends to those cases which Supreme Court has authority to hear and decide in the first instance like
(a) Dispute between the Government of India and one or more States.
(b) Dispute between two or more States.
(c) Dispute between the Union and any State on the one side and other States on the other.
(ii) Appellate Jurisdiction: A person can appeal to the Supreme Court against the decision of High Court. However, High Court must certify that the case is fit for appeal, which means the case involves a serious question of interpretation of law or Constitution. In criminal cases, if the lower court has sentenced a person to death, then an appeal can be made to the High court or Supreme Court. Supreme Court holds the power to decide whether to admit appeals even when appeal is not allowed by High Court. Appellate jurisdiction means, Supreme Court will reconsider the case and legal issue involved in it.
(iii) Advisory Jurisdiction: The President may obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court on a question of law or fact, which in his opinion is of public importance. The advisory opinion of the Supreme Court is not binding on the President.
Structure of Courts in India
There are three different levels of courts in our country:
(i) There are several courts at the lower level, while there is only one at the apex level. The courts that most people interact with are called Subordinate or District Courts. These are usually at the district or tehsil level or in towns and they hear many kinds of cases. Each state is divided into districts that are presided over by a District Judge.
(ii) Each state has a High Court which is the highest court of that state.
(iii) At the top is the Supreme Court that is located in New Delhi and is presided over by the Chief Justice of India. The decisions made by the Supreme Court are binding on all other courts in India.
The Supreme Court of India is called the Guardian of the Constitution because, it has the power to declare a law passed by the Parliament void or illegal if it is against the provisions of the Constitution.
Qualifications and tenure of the judge of the Supreme Court of India
A person is qualified for appointment as a judge only if he/she is a citizen of India and if he/she fulfils one of the following conditions:
(i) Has been a Judge of High Court for at least five years.
(ii) Has been an advocate of a High Court for at least ten years.
(iii) In the opinion of the President, is a distinguished jurist.
The Chief Justice of India and other judges of the Supreme Court hold office till they attain the age of 65 years. A judge may voluntarily resign before expiry of his term. In exceptional cases, a Supreme Court judge may be removed before the age of retirement, through impeachment.
Functions of High Court
(i) Original Jurisdiction: The original jurisdiction of the High Court extends to all civil cases which are in respect of actions of higher value.
(ii) Appellate Jurisdiction: The appellate jurisdiction of the High Court extends to both civil and criminal cases. It comes as first or second appeal in civil cases. Appeals arise from decisions by district judges and subordinate judges in higher value cases to the High Court. The criminal appellate jurisdiction of the High Court extends to appeal from the decision of a session judge when the sentence of imprisonment exceeds 7 years.
(iii) Power of Superintendence: According to Article 277, every High Court extends the power of superintendence over all courts and tribunals, except those dealing with armed forces operating within its territorial jurisdiction.
(iv) Control over Subordinate Courts : The High Court is the head of judiciary in a state and a state is empowered to transfer constitutional cases from lower courts. If High Court is satisfied that a matter involves a question of law and is beyond the jurisdiction of Subordinate Court, it can withdraw the case and dispose it off itself.
(v) Guardian of Fundamental Rights : According to the Act, 226, the High Court is empowered to issue writs to any person or authority, including the government, if it feels that the Fundamental Rights of any individual are being infringed upon within its jurisdiction.
(vi) Court of Record: The High Court keeps a record of its own cases which act as a precedent in future cases.
The functions of District Court are :
Any public-spirited individual can file a Public Interest Litigation case (PIL) on behalf of a group of persons, whose rights are affected. It is not necessary, that person filing a case should have a direct interest in this Public Interest Litigation. For example: A person in Mumbai can file a Public Interest Litigation for deaths due to malnutrition in Odisha.
FIR is a written document prepared by the police when it receives information about the occurrence of a cognizable offence. Serious crimes like theft, murder, rape, are cognizable offences, in which a police can arrest a person without warrant. Anyone can report the concerned authority (police) about such an offence either orally or in writing to the police. Even a telephonic message can be treated as FIR.
Integrated judicial System
India has a single judicial system for the entire country connected by a number of courts, with the Supreme Court at the apex of the entire judicial system. The Supreme Court, which is at the top, supervises the lower courts such as the High Courts at the state level and other Subordinate Courts at the lower level.
The Courts derives this power from the provisions of Article 13. The Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court to invalidate those laws and executive orders which infringe Fundamental Rights.
Importance of Judicial Review
(i) Since review power means that judiciary can interpret the Constitution and law passed by the legislature, it enables the judiciary to protect the Constitution effectively.
(ii) It safeguards the freedom of the citizens by protecting their Fundamental Rights against the undue interference by the legislature and executive.
(iii) It plays an important role in keeping the Union and State governments within their respective jurisdictional spheres.
Judiciary is important for the functioning of the democracy in India
Difference between the Criminal law and Civil law
|Criminal law||Civil law|
|(1) Deals with conduct or acts that the law defines as offences. For example: theft, harassing a woman to bring more dowry, murder, etc.||Deals with any harm or injury to rights of individuals. For example: disputes relating to sale of land, purchase of goods, rent matters, divorce cases, etc.|
|(2) It usually begins with the lodging of a First Information Report (FIR) with the police who investigate the crime, after which a case is filed in the court.||A petition has to be filed before the relevant court by the affected party only. In a rent matter, either the landlord or tenant can file a case.|
|(3) If found guilty, the accused can be sent to jail and can also be fined.||
The court gives the specific relief asked for. For instance, in a case between a landlord and a tenant, the court can order the flat to be vacated and pending rent to be paid.
Independence of Judiciary
Free and secure working environment can allow judges to provide justice in an unbiased way. The judiciary of India is answerable to the Constitution of India. The Constitution has such provisions that ensure independent judiciary, such as in matters of appointment, tenure, pay, etc.
(i) This means that other branches of the State-like the legislature and the executive- cannot interfere in the work of the judiciary.
(ii) The courts are not under the government and do not act on their behalf.(iii) It is also crucial that all judges in the High Court as well as the Supreme Court, are appointed with very little interference from other branches of government.(iv) It is the independence of the judiciary that allows the courts to play a central role in ensuring that there is no misuse of power by the legislature and the executive.
(v) It also plays a crucial role in protecting the Fundamental Rights of citizens because the citizens can approach the court if they believe that their rights have been violated.
Implications of Judicial Activism and PIL
First, these have overburdened the courts. Secondly, Judicial activism has blurred the line of distinction between the executive and legislature. The court has been involved in solving the questions which belong to executive.
For example: air pollution, investigation of corruption cases etc. are the matters to be handled by administration under the Supervision of legislature. These are not the duties of judiciary. Therefore, some feel that judicial activism has made the balance among the three organs or government very delicate. In a democratic country like India, each organ of government has its own power and jurisdiction. They cannot encroach upon others jurisdiction but judicial activism ma be creating strain on this democratic principle.
Honourable judiciary is respected by all Indian citizens and everybody has faith in it. But, it is also a hard fact which had been accepted by the Chief Justice of India that lengthy time consuming act of courts and judges of providing justice also affect the common person’s access to justice. It is hard to accept that certain cases had been decided in a very lengthy time period. Courts take very long time to finally decide a case. The phrase ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ is often used to characterise this extended time period that courts take.
Judicial activism has influenced our political system in many ways:
(a) It has democratised the judicial system by giving not just individuals, but also groups access to the courts.
(b) Secondly, it has forced executive accountability.
(c) Thirdly, it has also made an attempt to make the electoral system much more free and fair.
The Court asked candidates contesting elections to file affidavits indicating their assets and income along with educational qualifications, so that people could elect their representatives based on accurate knowledge.