JAC Board Class 8th Social Science Notes Civics Chapter 5 Judiciary
→ As an organ of government, the judiciary plays a crucial role in the functioning of India’s democracy. It can play this role only because it is independent.
→ What is the Role of the Judiciary?
- Courts take decisions on a very large number of issues.
- 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, etc.
- 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.
→ What is an Independent Judiciary?
- Rich and powerful people in India sometimes try to influence the judicial
process, the Indian Constitution protects against this kind of situation by providing for the independence of the judiciary.
- One aspect of this independence is the ‘separation of powers’.
- The other branches of government, the legislature and the executive cannot interfere in the work of the judiciaiy. The courts are not under the government and do not act on their behalf.
- 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.
→ What is the structure of Court in India?
- There are three different levels of courts in our country.
- The courts that most people interact with 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 which is located in New Delhi and is presided over by the Chief Justice of India.
- In India, we have an integrated judicial system, meaning that the decisions made by higher courts are binding on the lower courts.
- A person can appeal to a higher court if they believe that the judgment passed by the lower court is not just.
→ What are the Different Branches of the Legal System?
In addition to criminal law, the legal system also deals with civil law cases.
→ Does Everyone Have Access to the 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.
- 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 paper work as well as take up a lot of time.
- The Supreme Court in the early 1980s devised a mechanism of Public Interest Litigation or PIL to increase access to justice.
- 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.
- For the common person, access to courts is access to justice.
- The courts exercise a crucial role in interpreting the Fundamental Rights of citizens and the courts interpreted Article 21 of the Constitution on the Right to Life to include the Right to Food.
- There are also court judgments that people believe work against the best interests of the common person.
- Another issue that affects the common person’s access to justice is the inordinately long number of years that courts take to hear a case.
- The members of the Constituent Assembly had quite correctly envisioned a system of courts with an independent judiciary as a key feature of our democracy.