The Judiciary

Introduction

  • The judiciary in India is an independent branch of the government responsible for interpreting and upholding the constitution, ensuring justice, and safeguarding the rule of law.
  • It plays a crucial role in maintaining a balance of power within the Indian democratic system.

Structure of the Indian Judiciary

1. Supreme Court of India

  • The apex court in India.
  • Hears appeals, reviews laws, and ensures uniform interpretation of laws.
  • Consists of a Chief Justice and a maximum of 33 other judges.

2. High Courts

  • Each state and union territory in India has a high court.
  • Hears cases related to the state or union territory.
  • Functions as both an appellate court and a court of original jurisdiction.

3. Subordinate Courts

  • Include district courts, sessions courts, and various specialized courts.
  • Handle cases at the district and sub-district levels.
  • Responsible for trying both civil and criminal cases.

Independence of the Judiciary

1. Appointment and Removal

  • Judges are appointed by the President based on recommendations from the collegium system (Supreme Court judges for the Supreme Court and high court judges for high courts).
  • Judges can only be removed through a complex and stringent impeachment process.

2. Financial Independence

  • The judiciary's budget is not subject to the control of the executive, ensuring financial independence.

3. No Executive Interference

  • The executive branch is not allowed to interfere in judicial matters or decisions.

Functions of the Indian Judiciary

1. Interpreting the Constitution

  • The judiciary interprets the constitution and ensures that laws and government actions are in accordance with it.

2. Protection of Fundamental Rights

  • Guarantees and protects the fundamental rights of citizens.

3. Ensuring Justice

  • Adjudicates disputes and ensures justice in civil, criminal, and constitutional matters.

4. Checking the Legislature and Executive

  • Ensures that the legislative and executive branches of government do not exceed their constitutional powers.

5. Public Interest Litigation (PIL)

  • Allows individuals or organizations to seek justice on behalf of the public in cases of public interest.

6. Judicial Review

  • The power to review and potentially invalidate laws or actions of the government that are found to be unconstitutional.

Challenges Faced by the Indian Judiciary

1. Backlog of Cases

  • A large number of pending cases in the courts, leading to delays in justice delivery.

2. Resource Constraints

  • Insufficient infrastructure, staff, and resources for the judiciary.

3. Interference and Pressure

  • Occasionally, the judiciary faces pressure and interference from the executive and legislative branches.

4. Access to Justice

  • Limited access to justice, especially for marginalized and disadvantaged communities.