Judicial Hierarchy

  • IASbaba
  • August 28, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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  • GS-2: Polity & Judiciary

Judicial Hierarchy

Context:  India has integrated Judiciary compared to Federal Judicial system in USA. There is also the presence of hierarchy in Indian Judicial System.


  • The Constitution contemplates a hierarchy of jurisdictions, but no judge, acting within her jurisdiction, is “inferior” or “subordinate”.
  • As constitutional beings, judges are limited in jurisdiction but also supreme within their own jurisdiction. 
  • However, Article 235 speaks of “control over subordinate courts”. This Article adds insult to injury by describing these entities and agents as persons “holding a post inferior to the post of a district judge”.
  • While the Constitution allows “supervision”, it does not sanction judicial despotism.
  • Arbitrary practices in writing confidential reports of district justices seem to continue that perpetuates the inferior status associated with such “subordinate” judges.

Model Judgement to be replicated across India

  • The August 11 order of the Himachal Pradesh High Court resolves that “hereinafter, all the courts in the state other than the high court shall be referred to as district judiciary”.
  • Furthermore, “these courts shall not be referred to as subordinate court” but as trial courts. 
  • The colonial idea of “subordination” stands replaced by the constitutional idea of independence of the judiciary.

Way Ahead:

Senior-most district judges and judges of the high courts constituting the collegiate system to facilitate judicial administration, infrastructure, access, monitoring of disposal rates, minimisation of undue delays in administration of justice, alongside matters concerning transfers, and leave.

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