The state Judiciary
The Constitution provides for the establishment of High Courts in all the states. The Parliament, by law, establishe a common High Court for two or more States or Union Territories. At present there are 25 High Courts in the country. Among the Union Territories, Delhi alone has a high court of its own. The Guwahati High Court has jurisdiction over the state of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura. Punjab and Haryana also share one high court between them at Chandigarh.
The jurisdiction of a High Court of a state is co-terminus with the territorial limit of the State. For Example: If there is a common High Court for two or more States or Union Territories, then the jurisdiction of each Court extend to the territorial limits of the State or Union Territories.
The organization of subordinate Courts in India are more or less uniform throughout the country.
A State is divided into a number of districts, each under the jurisdiction of a principal Civil Court presided over by a district judges.
Sometimes he is assisted by Additional District Judges.
The administration of justice is conducted by two types of courts - Civil Courts and Criminal Courts.
In recent times reforms have been introduced in the criminal procedure with a view to expedite the disposal of case, improve efficiency, prevent abuses and offer relief to the weaker section of society.
The high court stands at the head of the Judiciary in the State. The following sections outline the structure of the state Judiciary.
Salient Features of the state Judiciary
The high court stands at the head of the Judiciary in the states:
Power of the High Court
The high court hears the following cases when there are brought in the first instance, without being heard in Subordinate Courts.
In regards to the State Revenue and its collection.
In regards to admiralty, wills, marriage laws, company laws and contempt of court. In regards to Fundamental Rights it is empowered to issue writs for the enforcement of these rights.
The High Courts of Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai have the powers to withdraw criminal cases from the subordinate courts for conducting trial themselves in the sessions court.
It implies that High Court can withdraw cases from subordinate courts for its consideration if it involves a substantial question of law. The case is returned to the code from which it was transferred to the copy of which comment on the question of law so that it can be disposed in keeping with the viewpoint of the High Court.
The high court hears appeals from the lower courts in the state and also appeals from suits filed on the original side of the High Court.
The High Court hears appeals in three types of cases – Civil, Criminal and Revenue.
In criminal cases if the district and sessions court sentence a convicted person to death, an appeal is made to the High Court.
The High Court also exercises power of supervision and control over the work of all courts and also the tribunals in the State. (Except courts relating to the Armed Forces).
The High Court may interfere with an inferior court or tribunal have acted without jurisdiction and passed orders beyond its powers.
It has a power to make and issue general rules and prescribe forms for regulating the proceedings in such courts.
The High Court supervise the working of the subordinate courts, frame rules and regulations for the conduct of their business and inspect their records. They can transfer cases from one court to another. All appointments transfer and promotions of district judges are made by the Governor on the advice of the high court and Public Service Commission.
Power to issue Writs
The High Court has also been conferred the power to issue writs not merely to safeguard Fundamental Rights, but for any other purpose. A writ is an order from a judicial authority asking person to perform some act or refrain from performing an act. Through theses writs the power of the Legislature and the Executive is controlled.
The writs that are issued are Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, Quo Warranto and Certiorari.
Judges of High Court
Appointment of judges to the High Court
The number of judges of the High Court has not been fixed by the constitution. The strength of each High Court is fixed by the President from time to time.
The president appoints the Chief Justice of the High Court in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the Governor of the State.
Judges are also appointed by the President, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned.
A judge must fulfill the following requirements
He must be a citizen of India.
He must have held a judicial office in the territory of India for 10 years or more.
He must have been an advocate of one or more high courts for 10 years in succession.
He should be a distinguished jurist, in the opinion of the President of India.
A Judge of the high court holds office until
the age of 62 years and is removable in the same manner as a judge of the Supreme Court of India i.e., on the ground of proved “misbehavior” or “incapacity”.
The Chief Justice of the high court gets a salary of rupees 70,000 per month while the judges over rupees 70,000 per month.
They are also entitled to allowances and pensions on retirement.
Independence of the Judiciary
The Constitution provides for the Independence of the judges of the High Court. A judge of the high court cannot be removed except on the ground of misbehavior or of incapacity.
His salary allowances and pensions cannot be varied and or not subject to vote of the Legislature (except under a proclamation of financial emergency).
All administrative expenses of the high court are charged on the consolidated fund of India. Hence, the salary and expenses of a judge and other members of the judiciary are not subject to variation.