Doctrine of Judicial Review, Attorney General of India, High Courts, Subordinate Courts

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Doctrine of Judicial Review

  • Judicial Review, as emphasised in the Indian Constitution, represents the competence of the Supreme Court to act as the guardian and protector of fundamental rights as also the institutions which are set up under the Constitution. The Judiciary, in other words, has been assigned the role of preventing the executive and the legislature from violating the rights and freedoms guaranteed to the citizen.

  • It has the power to nullify an executive order or an Act passed by the Parliament or by a State legislature, by declaring in ultra-virus of the Constitution or an act as not authorized by law.

Attorney General of India

  • The Constitution provides for the appointment by the President of a person who is qualified to be appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court to be Attorney-General for India. The Attorney-General holds office during the pleasure of the President. He gives expert legal advice to the Government of India and performs such duties of legal character as are assigned to him. He has right of audience in all courts in India and can take part in the proceedings of either House of Parliament but he is not entitled to vote.

High Courts

A High Court is the highest court of justice in the state. A High Court consists of the chief Justice and some other judges. The Chief Justice of a High Court is appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the Governor of the State concerned. The other Judges are appointed by the President of India in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, the Chief Justice of the High court and the Governor of the State concerned. The Judges can serve up to the age of 62 years, unless they resign or are removed by the President of India on a representation by both the Houses of Parliament in the prescribed constitutional manner. It is the same as the case of a judge of Supreme Court.

Qualifications

  • To be a judge of a High Court a person must

    • Be a citizen of India

    • Have been a judge of a civil and session court in India for at least ten years

    • An advocate in a High court for at least ten years

  • The Chief Justice draws a salary of Rs.30, 000/-per month and other judges draw a salary of Rs.26, 000/- per month. They also get pension and other retirement benefits. The pay and allowances of High Court Judges are changed on the Consolidated Fund of the State.

Powers of High Courts

  • The High court is mainly a Court of Appeal. It can hear appeals in both civil and criminal cases. A person can appeal to the High Court to protect his Fundamental Rights. The High Court controls and supervises the working of the lower courts.

  • The High court’s is empowered to issue to any person or the Government within its jurisdiction, orders or writs, including writs which are in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo-warrantor and certorari.

  • The High Courts have powers of superintendence over all subordinate courts and tribunals within their jurisdiction. The Advocate General is appointed by the Governor.

Transfer of Chief Justice

The President after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, transfers a Chief Justice from one High Court to another High Court.

Appointment of Officers and Staff

Officers and servants of the High court are to be appointed by the Chief Justice. The expenses of High court will be charged on the Consolidated Fund of the state.

Subordinate Courts

  • Subject to minor local variations, the structure and functions of the subordinate courts are more or less uniform throughout the country. Each State is divided into a number of districts, each under the jurisdiction of the principal civil court provided over by a district judge. Subordinate to him is a hierarchy of different grades of civil judicial authorities. The court of the District Judge is the highest Civil Court in a district.

  • When a Judge decides civil cases, he is called the District Judge and when he deals with criminal cases he is called the Sessions Judge, appointed by the Governor in consultation with the Chief Justice of the state. Besides the district court there are Courts of Sub-Judges, Munisif Courts and Courts of Small Causes. For criminal cases, District Magistrate and Sub Magistrates in the districts and taluk centres respectively. In cities they are called Metropolitan Magistrates.

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