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Structure of Courts in India

Indian Judiciary
  • The judicial system of India is stratified into various levels.
  • At the apex is the Supreme Court, which is followed by High Courts at the state level, District Courts at the district level and Lok Adalats at the Village and Panchayat Level.
  • The structure of the courts from the lower to the highest level resembles a pyramid.



Supreme Court in India



The supreme Court of India

  • The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in India and is situated in New Delhi. The Supreme Court came into power on 28th January 1950; just two days after the Constitution of India came to effect.
  • The Chief Justice of India and 25 other judges make up the Supreme Court of India. The appointments are done directly by the President of India.
  • The biggest responsibility is that it is the highest court of appeal and is also the protector of the Constitution in the country.

High Courts in India


Calcutta High Court

  • There are High Courts in almost all the States of India and the Union Territories.
  • The High Courts work under the Supreme Court in the country.
  • These courts decide on both civil as well as criminal cases.
  • Most of the cases that are handled by the High Courts of the country are passed on from the district or lower courts.
  • The judges of the High Courts are appointed by the President of India, in consultation with the Chief justice of India and the Governor of the state.
  • The Calcutta High Court, established in the year 1862, is the oldest court in India.

District Courts in India



Allahabad District Court

  • The District Courts in India take care of judicial matters at the district level.
  • These courts are headed by a judge.
  • They are administratively and judicially controlled by the High Courts of the respective states.
  • There are many secondary courts which work under the District Courts.

Lok Adalats


Court Room in a Lok Adalat

  • Lok Adalats are courts which have been organized by High Court Legal Services Committee or District Legal Services Authority or Taluk Legal Services Committee for the purpose of amicably settling a dispute between two parties by way of compromise.

In India, judicial system is an integrated system. The decisions made by higher courts are binding on the lower courts.

The judiciary system can also be called the appellate system. This means that a person can appeal to a higher court if they believe that the judgment passed by the lower court is not just.

A Case Study

The following case will explain the appellate system

Laxman Kumar was married to Sudha. After a year Sudha died of burns inflicted by her husband and his family.


Sudha’s family filed a case in the Trial court in the District.


After the hearing, the Trial Court convicted Laxman, his mother and his brother-in-law and sentenced all three of them to death.


Laxman’s family now appealed to the High Court against the verdict of the Trial court.


After the hearing the High Court passed the judgement stating that Laxman and the others were innocent and set them free.


Indian Federation of Women Lawyers was deeply troubled by this judgement and wanted justice for Sudha’s death. They appealed to the Supreme Court against the verdict of the High Court.


The Supreme Court heard this appeal against the acquittal of Laxman and the two members of his family. After the hearing they found Laxman and his mother guilty, but freed the brother-in-law. The Supreme Court decided to send the accused to prison for life.

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