Did you know that till 2009, the Department of Justice was under the Ministry of Home Affairs? It was only in 2010 that the ministry’s workload increased to the extent that a separate independent Department of Justice was made outside of the Home Ministry. Earlier, the Union Home Secretary used to be the Secretary of the Department of Justice but on being independent the Department was directly under the Secretary to the Government of India. Interesting? How our long-standing structures of democracy have also undergone changes over the years is an example of an evolutionary and developmental approach. There are many such interesting facts and important points about the Indian Judiciary over here. Let’s see if you know them all.
Also Read: The Four Pillars of Democracy: Notes
Functions of the Indian Judiciary
There are various functions that the judiciary has to perform as the third pillar of democracy. Here is the list of its functions;
- The most important role of the judiciary is to settle disputes and resolve cases with the help of laws and provisions mentioned in the Indian Constitution. It is the judge of policies and people which delivers justice with equality and declares penalties based on the laws.
- At times, there is an implementation of judge-made law or case law. If a case is confusing enough for the judge to land on specific laws to get the verdict, they often rely on their own wisdom to create special judgements.
- The Supreme Court, which is also the highest court in India is also considered a protector of the Indian constitution. The jurisdiction conflicts, nullifying unconstitutional policies and laws as well as maintaining balance within different levels and sections of the government fall under the functions of the Judiciary.
- It also protects the fundamental rights of the citizens of India and oversees the work of lower courts. This protects courts and states from state and other powers.
- If the executive desires as such, the judiciary acts as an advisory body on constitutional questions. This is only allowed in the absence of any disputes.
- Some functions of the court are administrative in nature. For instance, issuing licenses, administering the estates of deceased citizens and appointing receivers. The court also registers marriages and appoints guardians of minor children and lunatics.
- Lastly, the court also holds judicial enquiries. They head commissions to look into errors committed by public servants.
Also Read: What is Patriotism?
Powers of Indian Judiciary
The judiciary is a powerful institution to help the citizens. It has certain powers that it exercises time and again to ensure fair practices as well as law and order.
- The court can review the existing judgements thereby maintaining a check on lower courts.
- The judges are highly qualified individuals as the judicial system is independent in making decisions and hence is required to be unbiased, aware and qualified.
- They offer various jurisdictions like the Original jurisdiction, which is the first hearing of the case.
- Then there is Appellate jurisdiction which questions the first hearing in the court.
- They also have the power to deal with damages, this is called redress.
- Furthermore, diversity jurisdiction allows federal courts to hear cases of individuals from different states.
- Cases involving federal laws are considered under subject jurisdiction.
Indian Judicial System
The Indian judicial system is a well-divided and organised structure that operates on different levels. Here is the structure of the Indian judicial system.
The Supreme Court is the apex court which means its decisions are binding on all courts. It has the power to move cases and judges across the courts.
The High Court hears appeals from lower courts and can also issue writs for restoration of fundamental rights. The High Court has superintendence and control over lower courts and can deal with cases within its jurisdiction.
Every District Court deals with the cases arising within that particular district. It also has the power to hear appeals on Lower court decisions under its jurisdiction. Cases with serious criminal offences are also dealt with over here.
The lower court deals with matters of the civil courts and criminal court. As the name suggests, they deal in civilian and local criminal matters.
This was all the important information regarding the Indian Judiciary that one needs to know to understand the Judicial System as well as to clear various civil exams. For more such informative blogs on Civics & Polity of India stay tuned to our General Knowledge section.