High Courts and Subordinate Courts

The High Courts are part of the Indian judiciary, and function under the supervision guidance and control of the Supreme Court. As highest court in the State, a High Court supervises the subordinate courts in the State.

The system of appointment of judges, their qualifications and the working of subordinate courts is under the direct control and supervision of the High Court of the State concerned.

State High Courts

High Courts are the highest courts at State level but being part of integrated Indian judiciary, they work under the superintendence, direction, and control of the Supreme Court.


There is a High Court for each State. However, there can be a common High Court for two or more States. Every High Court has a Chief Justice and a few judges.

The number of judges varies from State to State.

Tenure and Removal of the Judges

  • should be a citizen of India
  • should have held a judicial office, at the district level or below for at least ten years or should have been an advocate in one or more High Courts for at least ten years continuously
  • Judges hold the office till the age of 62 years and may be removed before the age of 62 years only on the ground of incapacity or proved misbehaviour

Powers & Jurisdiction of the High Court

Original Jurisdiction

The High Courts have the power to hear and decide cases which are brought directly to it.

Appellate Jurisdiction

When a High Court hears an appeal against the decision of a lower court, appeals in both civil and criminal cases are brought to it against the decisions of the lower courts.

Transfer of Cases to High Court

High Court may withdraw a case from the lower court & may either dispose it off itself or may return it to the lower court with instructions for disposal of the case.

Superintendence of Subordinate Courts

High Court has the right of superintendence and control over all the subordinate courts in all the matter of judicial and administrative nature.

Court of Record

Lower courts in a State are bound to follow the decisions of the High Court which are cited as precedents.

Subordinate or Lower Courts in Districts

Civil Courts

Disputes of two or more persons property, breach of agreement or contract, divorce, or landlord tenant disputes.

Criminal Courts

Relate to violation of laws.

Revenue Courts

Relate to land revenue on agriculture land in the district.

Civil Court

It is called the Court of District and Sessions Judge when it deals with both civil and criminal cases at the district level.

  • The judge of this court is appointed by the Governor of the State.
  • Below the Court of District Judge there may be one or more courts of sub judges in the district.
  • Separate family courts have been established in districts to exclusively hear cases of family disputes.
  • Below them there are courts of munsifs and small causes courts which decide cases involving petty amounts.
  • No appeal can be made against the decisions of the small cause courts.

Criminal Courts

The Court of the Sessions Judge known as Sessions Courts is the highest court for criminal cases in a district.

  • Below this court there are courts of magistrates of First Second and Third class.
  • Criminal Courts hear criminal cases which are related to violation of laws - theft, dacoity, pick pocketing, murder, etc.
  • In such cases the guilty person gets the punishment, fine, imprisonment or even death sentence.

Revenue Courts

  • Revenue courts deal with cases of land revenue in the State.
  • The highest revenue court in the district is the Board of Revenue.
  • Under it are the Courts of Commissioners Collectors Tehsildars & Assistant Tehsildars.
  • The Board of Revenue hears the final appeals against all the lower revenue courts under it.