NCERT Class 8 Civics Chapter 5 - Judiciary Notes

Chapter 5 - Judiciary Notes

1. What is the role of judiciary?
Courts take decisions on a very large number of issues. Broadly speaking, the work that the judiciary does can be divided into the following:
• Dispute Resolution: The judicial system provides a 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. This is called judicial review.
Upholding the Law and Enforcing Fundamental Rights: Every citizen of India can approach the Supreme Court or the High Court if they believe that their Fundamental Rights have been violated.

2. The Article 21 provides every citizen the Fundamental Right to Life also includes the Right to Health.

3. What is an independent judiciary?
• One aspect of this independence is the ‘separation of powers’. ‘Separation of powers’ a key feature of the Constitution. The legislature and the executive cannot interfere in the work of the judiciary.
• The courts are not under the government and do not act on their behalf. 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 also 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 if they believe that their rights have been violated.

4. What is the structure of Courts in India?
• There are three different levels of courts in our country. There are several courts at the lower level while there is only one at the apex level.
• The courts that most people interact with are what are called subordinate or district courts. These are usually at the district or Tehsil level or in towns and they hear many kinds of cases.
• Each state is divided into 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 other courts in India.

5. Are these different levels of courts connected to each other?
Yes, they are. In India, we have an integrated judicial system, meaning 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. 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.

6. What are the different branches of the legal system?
There are 2 types of branches of legal system in India.
• Criminal law
• Civil law

• Criminal law
→ Deals with conduct or acts that the law defines as offences. Example: theft, harassing a woman to bring more dowry, murder.
→ It usually begins with the lodging of an 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.
• Civil law
→ Deals with any harm or injury to rights of individuals. Example: Disputes relating to 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. In a rent matter, either the landlord or tenant can file a case.
→ The court gives the specific relief asked for. Example: In a case between a landlord and a tenant, the court can order the flat to be vacated and pending rent to be paid.

7. Does everyone have access to courts?
• In principle, all citizens of India can access the courts in this country. This implies that every citizen has a right to justice through the courts. The courts 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 reality access to courts has always been difficult for a vast majority of the poor in India. Legal procedures involve a lot of money and paperwork as well as take up 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.
• In response to this, the Supreme Court in the early 1980s devised a mechanism of Public Interest Litigation or PIL to increase access to justice. It allowed any individual or organisation 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.

8. The Supreme Court was established on 26 January 1950, the day India became a Republic. Like its predecessor, the Federal Court of India (1937 - 1949), it was earlier located in the Chamber of Princes in the Parliament House. It moved to its present building on Mathura Road in New Delhi in 1958.

9. High Courts were first established in the three Presidency cities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras in 1862. The High Court of Delhi came up in 1966. Currently there are 25 High Courts. While many states have their own High Courts, Punjab and Haryana share a common High Court at Chandigarh, and four North Eastern states of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have a common High Court at Guwahati. Andhra Pradesh (Amaravati) and Telangana (Hyderabad) have separate High Courts from 1 January 2019. Some High Courts have benches in other parts of the state for greater accessibility.

10. The subordinate court is more commonly known by many different names. These include the Trial Court or the Court of the District Judge, the Additional Sessions Judge, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Metropolitan Magistrate, Civil Judge.

11. Number of Judges in India

Number of Judges in India

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