SUBORDINATE COURTS

SUBORDINATE COURTS

To prepare for INDIAN POLITY for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about Subordinate Courts. It gives an idea of all the important topics for the IAS Exam and the polity syllabus (GS-II.). This is an essential portion of the polity.  As IAS aspirants, you should be thorough with the Subordinate Courts. In this article, you can read all about the Subordinate Courts for the Polity and Governance segments of the UPSC syllabus.

India is a federal State with single and unified judicial system with a three-tier structure SUPREME COURT (at top), HIGH COURT(at state/s level) and  SUBORDINATE COURTS(at district level).

 

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS
  • Part VI (State) spanning from 233 to 237 of the Indian Constitution.
  • State judiciary system consists of a HC and a hierarchy of subordinate courts below it, also known as lower courts. They function below and under the HC at district and lower levels.

 

APPOINTMENT OF DISTRICT JUDGE
  • The appointment, posting and promotion of district judges in a state are made by theGOVERNOR of the state in consultation with the HC.

 

QUALIFICATION CRITERIA
  • He should not already be in the service of the Central or the state
  • He should have been an advocate for seven years.
  • He should be recommended by the HC for appointment.

 

APPOINTMENT OF OTHER JUDGES (OTHER THAN DISTRICT JUDGES)

 

CONTROL OVER SUBORDINATE COURTS
  • The control over district courts and other subordinate courts including the posting, promotion and leave of persons belonging to the judicial service of a state and holding any post inferior to the post of district judge is vested in the High Court.

 

APPLICATION OF THE ABOVE PROVISIONS TO CERTAIN MAGISTRATES
  • The Governor may direct that the above mentioned provisions relating to persons in the state judicial service would apply to any class or classes of magistrates in the state.

 

STRUCTURE AND JURISDICTION
  • The organisational structure, jurisdiction and nomenclature of the subordinate judiciary are laid down by the states. Hence, they differ slightly from state to state.
  • Broadly, there are three tiers of civil and criminal courts below the HC of state.
  • Schematic- Hierarchical structure of Sub-ordinate court
  • The district judge is the highest judicial authority in the district.
  • He possesses original and appellate jurisdiction in both civil and criminal
  • Criminal matters – District judge is known as the Sessions judge.
  • Civil matters – District judge known as the District
  • The district judge exercises both judicial and administrative
  • He also has supervisory powers over all the subordinate courts in the district.
  • Appeals against his orders and judgements lie to the HC.
  • The sessions judge has the power to impose any sentence including life imprisonment and capital punishment (death sentence).

 

NOTE – Capital punishment passed by him is subject to confirmation by the HC, whether there is an appeal or not.

 

  • Below the District and Sessions Court stands the Court of Subordinate Judge on the civil side and the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate on the criminal side.

 

FINDINGS OF ECONOMIC SURVEY 2018-2019
  • Indian judiciary system has over 53 crore pending cases (subordinate courts comprises about 87.54%)
  • Case Clearance Rate (CCR) for Subordinate courts – 89 %
  • Due to CCR below 100%, cases getting accumulating – Resulting pendency.
  • Additional judges required in year2279
  • To clear all the backlog in the next five years8,152 judges are needed.
  • Subordinate courts are working at 79% their sanctioned strength.
  • Pendency hampers dispute resolution, contract enforcement, discourage investments, stall projects, hamper tax collection and escalate legal costs which leads to Increasing cost of doing business – Reduced EoDB rank.

 

ISSUES WITH DISTRICT AND SUB-ORDINATE COURTS

CONTEXTRecently SC expresses concern over the high level of vacancy in subordinate courts.

 

BACKGROUND
  • Subordinate courts is close to factors that affect the life of the common man:-conducting trials, settling civil disputes.
  • But, high level of vacancy for the posts of judges and pendency of cases are major issues which impedes efficient and effective justice delivery to citizens.

 

OTHER ISSUES FACED BY SUBORDINATE COURTS
  • Issues in recruitment – Sluggishness and procrastination in the process of calling for applications, holding recruitment examinations and declaring the results. Subordinate courts are working at 79% their sanctioned strength
  • Pendency of cases- District and Subordinate courts account for 54 percent of pending cases.
  • Lack of uniformity in frequency of hearings among the subordinate courts in the country.
  • Inordinate delays in evidence collection and examination of witnesses which impacts the overall process of the court.

 

IMPACTS OF JUDICIAL PENDENCY ARE –
  • Delayed justice, denied justice- Speedy trial is a part of right to life and liberty ( 21).
  • Erosion social and ethical infrastructure- Negative effect on social development, higher crime rates and erodes credibility of institution.
  • Overcrowding of the prisons – Beyond 150% of the capacity, results in “violation of human rights”.
  • Affects the economy of the country- to estimate, judicial delays cost India around 1.5% of its GDP annually.
  • Pendency hampers dispute resolution, contract enforcement, discourage investments, stall projects, hamper tax collection and escalate legal costs which leads to Increasing cost of doing business.

 

WAY FORWARD
  • A smooth and time-bound process of making appointments requires close coordination between the HC and the State Public Service Commissions.
  • The induction and capacity building of both manpower and resources.
  • Strengthening of court infrastructure and leveraging ICT- g LIMBS, e-Courts
  • Proportionate recruitment of legal and paralegal staff too has to be addressed.
  • Survey (2018) highlights the need for more judges specialised in criminal cases as these form major portion of pending cases along with lower CCR.
  • Create an All-India Judicial Service (AIJS) to attract the best talent in India’s legal profession.
  • Increase in number of working days- Average annual working days for subordinate courts is 244– could improve productivity and efficiency

 

 

ajax-loader