Class 8 Judiciary is an important chapter in the syllabus of social science as it familiarises students with how the judiciary functions in India, about its roles in the legal system and about the structure of courts in our country. You will also learn about the various branches of the legal infrastructure of India thus getting a gist of how it functions. We have summarised Class 8 Judiciary notes in this blog along with its PDF as well as important questions and answers.
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Table of contents
What is Judiciary?
In India, we have the rule of law which means that laws apply equally to all people and that a certain set of fixed procedures need to be followed when a law is violated. To enforce this rule of law, we have a judicial system that consists of the mechanism of courts that a citizen can approach when a law is violated. The judiciary is a part of the government and plays a crucial role in the functioning of India’s democracy.
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Role of the Judiciary
Courts make decisions on a very large number of cases. As per Class 8 Judiciary, the role of the judiciary can be divided into the following:
- Dispute Resolution – The judicial system provides the mechanism for resolving disputes between citizens, between citizens and the government, between two state governments and between the centre and state governments.
- Judicial Review – As the final interpreter of the Constitution, the judiciary also has the power to strike down particular laws passed by the Parliament if it believes that these are a violation of the basic structure of the Constitution which is called judicial review.
- Upholding the Law and Enforcing Fundamental Rights – Every citizen of India has the right to approach the Supreme Court or the High Court if they believe that their Fundamental Rights have been violated.
Class 8 Judiciary notes that the lack of independence would force a judge to make all judgments in favour of the people in power. Therefore the Indian Constitution protects against this kind of situation by providing for the independence of the judiciary. Let’s understand how independent judiciary works:
- Under the importance of the independence of the judiciary, the ‘separation of powers’ is a key feature of the Constitution. It means that other branches of government – the legislature and the executive cannot interfere in the work of the judiciary on any level. The courts are not under the government and do not act on their behalf. For this separation to work, it is also crucial that all judges in the High Court, as well as the Supreme Court, are appointed with very little interference from these other branches of government. Once appointed to this office it is very difficult to remove a judge.
- It is the independence of the judiciary that allows the courts to play a central role in ensuring that there is no misuse of power by the legislature and the executive. It also plays a crucial role in protecting the Fundamental Rights of citizens because anyone can approach the courts with their grievance.
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Structure of Courts in India
As per Class 8 Judiciary, there are three different levels of courts in our country:
- The courts that most people interact with are what are called subordinate or district courts which are usually at the district or Tehsil level or in towns and they hear many kinds of cases. Each state is divided into several districts that are presided over by a District Judge.
- Each state has a High Court which is the highest court of that state.
- At the top is the Supreme Court that is located in New Delhi and is presided over by the Chief Justice of India. The decisions made by the Supreme Court are binding on all courts in India.
All the courts are connected with each other because we have an integrated judicial system which means that the decisions made by higher courts are binding on the lower courts. Another way to understand this integration is through the appellate system that exists in India which means that a person can appeal to a higher court if they believe that the judgment passed by the lower court is not just.
Different Branches of the Legal System
The legal system deals with civil law cases and criminal law. Dowry death falls within what is considered a ‘crime against society’ and is a violation of criminal law. Some differences between criminal and civil law are given below –
- Deals with conduct or acts that the law defines as offences. For example – theft, harassing a woman to bring more dowry, murder etc.
- It usually begins the lodging of a First Information Report (FIR) with the police who investigate the crime after which a case is filed in the court.
- If found guilty the accused can be sent to jail and also be fined.
- Deals with any harm or injury to the rights of individuals. For example – disputes relating to the sale of land, purchase of goods, rent matters, divorce cases.
- A petition has to be filed before the relevant court by the affected party only. For example in a matter of rent only the landlord or the tenant can file a case.
- The court gives the specific relief asked for. For instance – in a case between a landlord and a tenant the court can ask for the flat to be vacated and pending rent to be paid.
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Does Everyone Have Access to the Courts?
In principle, all the citizens of India can access the courts in the country. This implies that every citizen has a right to justice through the courts since the courts also play a very significant role in protecting our Fundamental Rights. If any citizen believes that their rights are being violated then they can approach the court for justice to be done. While the courts are available for all in theory the reality is quite different. In reality access to courts has always been difficult for a vast majority of the poor people in India. Legal procedures involve a lot of money and paperwork as well as take a lot of time. For a poor person who cannot read and whose family depends on a daily wage the idea of going to court to get justice often seems remote.
Public Interest Litigation (PIL)
For this, the Supreme Court in the early 1980s devised a mechanism of Public Interest Litigation or PIL which allowed any individual or organization to file a PIL in the High Court or the Supreme Court on behalf of those whose rights were being violated. The legal process was greatly simplified and even a letter or telegram addressed to the Supreme Court or the High Court could be treated as a PIL. In the early years, PIL was used to secure justice on a large number of issues such as rescuing bonded labourers from inhumane work conditions and securing the release of prisoners in Bihar who had been kept in jail even after their punishment term was complete. Even the mid-day meal that children now receive in government schools and government-aided schools is because of a PIL. The courts exercise a crucial role in interpreting the Fundamental Rights of citizens and as you saw in the above case, the courts interpreted Article 21 of the Constitution on the Right to Life to include the Right to Food. They ordered the State to take certain steps to provide food for all including the mid-day meal scheme.
However there are also court judgments that people believe work against the best interests of the common person. Another issue that affects the common people’s access to justice is the inordinately long number of years that courts take to hear a case. The phrase “justice delayed is justice denied” is often used to characterize this extended time period that courts take. In spite of this there is no denying that the judiciary has played a crucial role in democratic India serving as a check on the powers of the executive and the legislature as well as in protecting the Fundamental Rights of citizens. The members of the Constituent Assembly had quite correctly envisioned a system of courts with an independent judiciary as a key feature of our democracy.
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Important Questions and Answers
The judiciary is the system of the interconnected courts which administers justice in the name of the state. It is the mechanism for the resolution of disputes and pronouncement of punishment to the guilty.
Courts take decisions on a very large number of issues. The work of the judiciary can be divided into the following – Dispute Resolution, Judicial Review and Upholding the Law and Enforcing Fundamental Rights
There are three different levels of courts in our country:
1. The courts that most people interact with are what are called subordinate or district courts which are usually at the district or Tehsil level or in towns and they hear many kinds of cases.
2. Each state is divided into several districts that are presided over by a District Judge.
Each state has a High Court which is the highest court of that state.
3. At the top is the Supreme Court that is located in New Delhi and is presided over by the Chief Justice of India. The decisions made by the Supreme Court are binding on all courts in India.
The full form of PIL is Public Interest Litigation.
Thus, we hope our summarised Class 8 Judiciary notes helped you study this chapter. Click here to check out more such Class 8 Study Notes and NCERT Solutions. Stay tuned to Leverage Edu for more such useful educational reads and updates from around the world!