Subordinate Courts

In each State of India, there are subordinate courts whose structure and organization are nearly uniform all over the country. As per Article 235 of the Constitution, the administrative control over the subordinate courts in the state lies in the High Court. It is clear from the powers conferred on the High Courts under the provisions of Article 309 as read with Articles 233 and 234. The State government frames rules and regulations in consultation with the High Court so to administer subordinate courts. The designation of the courts connote their functions. These courts deal with all disputes of civil or criminal nature as per the powers conferred on them.

Their power is derived principally from two important codes prescribing procedures: the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and further strengthened by local statutes. As per the direction of the Supreme Court, the subordinate judiciary’s judicial officers all over the country, are 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. Usually there are two types of subordinate courts in every district: civil courts and criminal courts. The court of the district judges is the highest civil court in a district. It exercises both judicial and administrative powers. It has the power of superintendence over the courts under its control.

The District Judge combines in himself the powers of trying both civil as well as criminal cases. Hence, he is designated as the District and Sessions Judge. Below the court of the District Judge are the courts of Sub-judge, Additional Sub-Judge and Munsif Courts, which are located in the sub divisional and district headquarters. Most of the civil cases are filed in the court of the Munsif. A case can be taken in appeal from the court of the Munsif to the court of the sub-Judge or the Additional Sub-Judge. The Court of the District Judge has both original and appellate jurisdiction. Against the decision of the District judge, an appeal shall lie in the High Court. In every district there are also, the criminal courts. Under criminal courts, there are courts of the District and Sessions Judge, Additional Sessions Judges, Assistant Sessions Judge and the courts of the first class magistrates.

The District and Sessions judge may pass any legal sentence but a death sentence is subject to confirmation by the High Court. Revenue courts deal with land revenue cases. The Family Courts Act, 1984, seeks to promote conciliation and secure speedy settlement of disputes relating to marriage and family affairs. These courts have been set up in Assam (one), Bihar (two), Karanataka (five), Kerala (five), Maharashtra (sixteen), Manipur (one), Orissa (two), Puducherry (one), Punjab (two), Rajasthan (five), Sikkim (one), Tamil Nadu (six), Uttar Pradesh (sixteen) and West Bengal (one).

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