Role of Judiciary
• Dispute Resolution: judicial system provides a mechanism for resolving disputes between citizens, between citizens and government, between two state governments, and between centre and state governments.
• Judicial Review: Supreme Court is final interpreter of Constitution, it has power to strike down particular laws passed by Parliament if it believes that these are a violation of basic structure of Constitution. It is known as Judicial Review.
• Upholding Law and Enforcing Fundamental Rights: Every citizen of India can approach Supreme Court or High Court if they believe that their Fundamental Rights have been violated. Supreme Court of India was established on 26th January 1950, and it was inaugurated on 28th January 1950.
Structure of Courts
• There are three different levels of courts in our country.
• There are several courts at lower level while there is only one at apex level.
• courts that most people interact with are known as subordinate or District Courts. These are generally at district or Tehsil level, or in towns and they hear many kinds of cases.
• Each state is divided into districts and District Courts are presided over by a District Judge.
• Each state has a High Court which is highest court of that state.
• High Courts were first established in three Presidency cities of Calcutta, Bombay & Madras in 1962.
• Supreme Court is at top, which is located in New Delhi, and is presided over by Chief Justice of India.
• decisions made by Supreme Court are binding on all other courts in India. We have an integrated judicial system, which means that decisions made by higher courts are binding on lower courts.
• appellate system that exists in India is another example of an integrated judicial system. This means that a person can appeal to a higher court if they believe that judgment passed by lower court is not just.
• subordinate court is more commonly known by many different names such as Trial Court or Court of District Judge, Additional Sessions Judge, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Metropolitan Magistrate, Civil Judge.
• Many states have their own High Courts, but Punjab and Haryana share a common High Court at Chandigarh, and four North-Eastern states of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, & Arunachal Pradesh have a common High Court at Guwahati.
|Criminal law||Civil law|
|Deals with conduct or acts that law defines as offences, for example, harassing a woman for dowry.||Deals with harm or injury to rights of individuals, for example, disputes related to sale of land.|
|It generally begins with lodging of a First Information Report [FIR] with police who investigate crime, after which a case is filed in court.||A petition has to be filed before relevant court by affected party only.|
|If found guilty, accused can be sent to jail and fined.||court gives specific relief asked for.|
Access to Courts
• All citizens of India can access courts in this country. This means that every citizen has right to justice through courts.
• courts play a very significant role in protecting our Fundamental Rights.
• Supreme Court in early 1980s devised a mechanism of Public Interest Litigation or PIL to increase access to justice. It allowed any individual or organisation to file a PIL in High Court or Supreme Court on behalf of those whose rights were being violated.
• courts exercise a crucial role in interpreting Fundamental Rights of citizens, courts interpreted Article 21 of Constitution on Right to Life to include Right to Food. They ordered State to take certain steps to provide food for all, including mid-day meal scheme was implemented with help of PIL.
• Indian Constitution provides for independence of judiciary.
• This independence is provided through separation of powers, a key feature of Constitution.
• This means that other branches of government, legislature and executive cannot interfere in work of judiciary.
• courts are not under government and do not act on their behalf. This is independence of judiciary that allows courts to play a central role in ensuring that there is no misuse of power by legislature and executive. It plays a crucial role in protecting Fundamental Rights of citizens because anyone can approach courts if they believe that their rights have been violated.