Indian Legal System



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Indian Legal System The Indian Legal System is one of the oldest legal systems in the entire history of the world. It has altered as well as developed over the past few centuries to absorb inferences from the legal systems across the world. The Constitution of India is the fountainhead of the Indian Legal System. It demonstrates the Anglo-Saxon character of judiciary which is basically drawn from the British Legal System. The primary origins of law: * The Indian Constitution The Indian Constitution was framed by the Constituent Assembly and came into effect from 26th November 1949 (Article 1). The Indian Constitution was in part modeled on the Government of India Act 1935 (an act passed by the British Parliament) and the Constitutions of other nations such as the Irish Constitution. The Indian Constitution in turn served as a model for many nations, which became independent subsequently. A text of the Constitution is found at http://alfs. nic. in. * The Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

It constitutes India into a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, and Democratic Republic and secures to the people of the country the right to Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. The Constitution provides for a Parliamentary form of Government which is partly Federal in structure with unitary characteristics. The Constitution is divided into Parts and further into Chapters and Articles. The Constitution provides for a quasi-federal nation consisting of a Union of States (Article 1).

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It provides for separate executives and legislatives for the Union and for each of the States and demarcates the powers of each. However the residual power is with the Union. * The Parliament has the power to make laws for the whole or any part of India and the State Legislature has the power to make laws for the whole or any part of the State. The legislative powers of the Parliament and State Legislatures are enumerated in three lists that are annexed as the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution: Union List, State List and Concurrent List.

In case of a conflict between the two legislatures over a matter in the Concurrent list the will of the Parliament prevails. Neither the Central government nor the State Governments can override or contravene the provisions of the Constitution. Under certain circumstances, the Union can (and has) dissolved the executive and legislatives of the States. The Judiciary is however unitary in structure although administered separately by the Union and the States. There are no separate Federal and State Courts. The Constitution itself can be amended by a special majority of the union legislature. Amendments to the provisions of the Constitution dealing with the States require the consent of the legislatures of at least half of the States (Article 368). The Constitution can be amended fairly extensively but the amendments cannot violate the basic features of the Constitution such as the independence of the judiciary, the sovereign democratic and republican structure of the nation, the rule of law and free and fair elections. * customary law

Because India is a land of diversity, local customs and conventions that are not against statue or morality or otherwise undesirable are, to a limited extent, also recognized and taken into account by the courts while they administer justice in certain spheres. Also, people of different religions and traditions are governed by different sets of personal law with respect to matters relating to family affairs. * Case law, and Art 143 of the Constitution of India says that the law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts within the territory of India.

Therefore, the decisions of the Supreme Court become source of law. Judgments given by the Supreme Court are binding on all other courts in India. * Statutes (legislation). The statutes are operated by the Parliament, union territory legislatures and state legislatures. There are mainly two categories under which the Indian legal system operates, these include- Administration of Justice in India: The judicial system or Indian legal system is a unique feature of the Indian Constitution. It is an integrated system of courts that administer both state and union laws.

The Supreme Court of India is the uppermost part in the Indian legal system. Under this, each state or a group of states possesses High Courts. There are several subordinate courts under these High Courts. The Union Judiciary consists of the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court is the ultimate court of appeals for the nation. It hears appeals from the High Courts and acts as a court of review over subordinate tribunals. The Supreme Court exercises original jurisdiction in disputes between the Union and the States or between the States inter-se.

The Supreme Court can also issue writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, and certiorari and quo warranto for the enforcement of fundamental rights. Supreme Court of India situated at New Delhi. The Supreme Court consists of a Chief Justice and 25 puisne judges. The judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. The senior-most puisne judge is normally appointed the Chief Justice of India. A judge of the Supreme Court holds office until he attains the age of 65 years.

He could be removed earlier by impeachment before both the Houses of Parliament. The State Judiciary consists of High Courts for each State and subordinate courts. Each High Court consists of a Chief Justice and a number of puisne judges. A High Court judge is appointed by the President after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, the Governor of the State and the Chief Justice of the State. A High Court judge holds office till he attains the age of 62 years. A High Court judge can be impeached in the same manner as a Supreme Court judge.

The High Court hears appeals from the subordinate courts and tribunals. It also acts as a court of revision for the subordinate courts and tribunals. The High Court has powers to issue writs of habeas corpus, certiorari and others. Some High Courts also exercise original jurisdiction in civil matters and admiralty jurisdiction. The language of the Supreme Court and the High Court is English, although the national language Hindi is rapidly gaining ground. Subordinate courts are divided into criminal and civil courts. The civil courts consist of Munsif courts and courts of Subordinate Judges.

Appeals normally lie from these courts to the District Court and then to the High Court. A litigant is normally entitled to two appeals-one appeal on facts and law and a second appeal on law alone. The criminal courts consist of Magistrates of first class and the Courts of Session. Appeals lie to the Court of Session and then to the High Court. Specialized tribunals are established under various enactments such as the Income tax Appellate Tribunal, the Company Law Board, the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal, the Consumer Forums, the Central and State Administrative Tribunals, the Debt Recovery Tribunal.

All these tribunals are under the superintendence of the High Court within whose territorial jurisdiction they function. Different Branches of Law 1. Criminal Laws 2. Civil Laws 3. Labour Laws 4. Commercial Laws 5. Environmental Law 6. Administrative law 7. Constitutional Law 8. Insurance law 9. Consumer Law 10. Intellectual Property Law 11. Land Laws Hierarchy of Civil Courts In India SUPREME COURT HIGH COURT DISTRICT COURT CIVIL JUDGE SENIOR DIVISION CIVIL JUDGE JUNIOR DIVISION Hierarchy of Criminal Courts In India SUPREME COURT

HIGH COURT SESSIONS COURT ASSISTANT SESSIONS COURT CHIEF METROPOLITAN MAGISTRATE JUNIOR DIVISION CHIEF JUDICIAL MAGISTRATE JUDICIAL MAGISTRATE FIRST CLASS JUDICIAL MAGISTRATE SECOND CLASS SPECIAL COURTS 1. Family Courts 2. Fast Track Courts 3. NDPS Court 4. Labour Courts 5. Consumer Forums * District Forum * State Commission * Central Commission 6. Tribunals * Service Tribunals * Motor Vehicles Tribunals * Income Tax Tribunals * Water Tribunals 7. Alternative Dispute Resolution methods * Negotiation * Mediation * Conciliation * Arbitration

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