Civil Courts

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Jun 15, 2022, 15:27

The Indian Judicial system is one of India's oldest legal systems today, inherited from the British after they have ruled India for more than 200 years. The Indian judicial system originates its power from the structure of the current legal system which has been laid down by the Indian Consitution. In the Indian judiciary system, there are different types of courts namely the Supreme Court, High Court, and other Civil Courts. These courts are vested with changing powers based on the jurisdiction bestow upon them.

There is a hierarchy of importance in the system of Civil Courts. The Supreme Court of India is at the top of the hierarchy while the High Courts of respective states are in second to this hierarchy followed by District Judges of the District Courts. The Magistrates of Second Class and Civil Judge (Junior Division) form the bottom of this hierarchy.

Civil Courts Hierarchy & Function

There is a District Court set up by the respective State Government for each district or multiple districts considering the ratio of the population to the cases nimbers in such districts. In the Civil court system, these District Courts are administered by the High Courts of the respective states. There is a Judge appointed by the respective State Government as a District judge, to chair the District Court. Sometimes, considering the excess workload on the District Court, Additional District Judges along with Assistant District Judges are appointed.

In every state, other than the High Court, many other judicial courts are established under the comprehensive administration of the High Court to administer justice in every state.

For all the courts which are subordinates to the high court, the state itself determines territorial jurisdiction along with all constituent organizations. Generally, the structure of subordinate courts is uniform all over the country.

Each District has 2 types of law courts

  • Civil Court
  • Criminal Court

The district judges court, located at the district headquarters, is the highest level of Civil Courts in a district, which exercises not only judicial but also administrative powers over all the courts that comes under the control of this civil court and also has the power of judging both criminal as well as civil cases. Accordingly, he is designated as the judge of District and Sessions.

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In the Civil Courts, the courts of Munsif, Sub-judge, and Additional Sub-Judge are subordinate to the court of the District Judge. These courts are placed around the sub-divisional as well as in district headquarters. The majority of the civil cases are filed in Munsif court. An appeal can be filed against the order of the Munsif court with the sub-Judge court or the Additional Sub-Judge court. Similarly, appeals shall be filed with the District Court, against the order of the sub- Judges court and Additional sub-Judges court. The District Judge Court has not only original but also has jurisdiction. Appeals against the order of the Judge of District shall lie under the High Court.

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Jurisdictional Categorisation of Civil Court

Jurisdiction to the subject matter: It is a power vested with the court to try and hear the cases related to a particular type and matter.

Territorial Jurisdiction: A power of the court to try and hear cases that are limited to a specified geographical area.

Pecuniary Jurisdiction: The court to try and hear cases is related to money, monetary value/amount of the case, or suit in question.

Appellate Jurisdiction: The court has the power to rehear or review the order of a lower court in any case. Both the High Courts and the Supreme Court have appellate jurisdiction in India. They have the power to overrule the lower court's judgment or uphold it.

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FAQ on Civil Courts

Q.1 In Civil Courts, which are the courts subordinate to the court of the District Judge?

Ans. In Civil Courts, courts subordinate to the court of the District Judge are the courts of Sub-judge, Additional Sub-Judge, and Munsif Courts.

Q.2 Which court controls and supervises the function of Civil Courts?

Ans. Civil Courts function under the comprehensive control and supervision of the High Court.

Q.3 Which court is the highest authority in Civil Courts?

Ans. The court of the district judges is the highest level of Civil Courts in a district.

Q.4 In Civil Courts, what are the powers vested with the court of the district judges?

Ans. In Civil Courts, the court of district judges exercises both judicial as well as administrative powers.