Why do we need three layers of courts in India?

polity court structure

Answer by Tejasvita Apte:

Thanks for the A2A, Balaji.

Here is a hierarchy of courts in India –

Courtesy – Google Images

Now, remember for a country as large as India and as populous as India, we need this hierarchy for efficacy.

The District court has the jurisdiction to try and decide every suit. So, all civil suits, have to be filed in the district court first.
This is to reduce the burden on High Courts.

For Criminal cases, the Sessions court has the jurisdiction to decide all criminal cases except cases involving death penalty which is subject to the confirmation of the High Court.

Now, you seem to be under the impression that all cases go through all these layers and thereby there is a delay and inefficiency.

This is wrong.

First appeal from any case, is generally given as a matter of right. So, if you filed your case in District court, first appeal to High Court will be a matter of right. This is because judges are also humans and they can go wrong. What is more, a lot of cases are a matter of judicial opinion and that also may differ.

Second appeal is not a matter of right. So, suppose you filed your case in Civil judge junior division, (based on subject matter and pecuniary criteria, cases are divided between Civil Judge Senior Division and Civil Judge Junior division), your first appeal, a matter of right will lie before the Civil Judge Senior Division.

Assuming you lose that too.

Your appeal in the High Court will not be admitted as a matter of right. There will be a stage of admission wherein your lawyer will be given a chance to convince a HC judge as to why your case should be admitted in the first place. Lots of cases, lose here itself and are not admitted at all. In such a situation, you can appeal to the Supreme Court and there again there will be a stage of admission.

Further, the High Court does not go into evidence unless there are extraneous circumstances (i.e. if you can demonstrate that the lower court did not allow your evidence at all, among others). In the High Court, the evidence presented before the lower court is relied on and only arguments take place.

The Supreme Court's jurisdiction is even more exclusive. The Supreme Court only admits appeals or petitions, if there is a new point of law involved. In SC, the lawyers are not supposed  to argue facts, they are only supposed to argue on law points.

So, the jurisdictions of all the courts are different and subject matter can also be different. The lowest courts which are there in each district and town take the maximum load as they are supposed to because they are most in number. It is just like a pyramid. Intelligently designed. It has nothing to do with the competency of the judges.

Every country (unless it is too small) has this system. Whether they follow the doctrine of Precedents or not, is a different matter. But, yes, they do have hierarchy of courts.

Hope I made it clear. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask in the comments.

Why do we need three layers of courts in India?


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