state or union territory legislatures concerned. Judicial decisions of superior courts like Supreme
Court and High Courts are important sources of law. Decisions of the Supreme Court are binding
on all courts within the territory of India. Local customs and conventions which are not against
statute, morality, etc., are also recognised and taken into account by courts while administering
justice in certain spheres.
Enactment of Law
The Parliament is competent to make laws on matters enumerated in the Union List. State
legislatures are competent to make laws on matters enumerated in the State List. Parliament
alone has power to make laws on matters not included in the State List or Concurrent List. On
matters enumerated in the Concurrent List, laws can be made by both Parliament and the state
legislature. But in the event of repugnancy, law made by Parliament shall prevail over law made
by state legislature, to the extent of repugnancy, be void unless the latter law having been
reserved for consideration of President, has received his assent and in that event shall prevail in
that state.India_2019_AMAZON: E published on AMAZON
At the apex of the entire judicial system exists the Supreme Court of India with a High
Court for each state or group of states and under the High Courts there is a hierarchy of
subordinate courts. Panchayat Courts also function in some states under various names like
Nyaya Panchayat, Panchayat Adalat, Gram Kachehri, etc., to decide civil and criminal disputes
of petty and local nature. Different state laws provide for jurisdiction of these courts.
The highest court in each district is that of District and Sessions Judge. This district court is
the principal court of civil jurisdiction and can try all offences including those punishable with
death. He is the highest judicial authority in a district. Below him, there are courts of civil
jurisdiction, known in different states as Munsifs, Sub-Judges, Civil Judges and the like.
Similarly, criminal courts comprise Chief Judicial Magistrate and Judicial Magistrate of First and
During the British regime, the King in Council, or Privy Council as it was generally called,
was the highest forum to entertain appeals from the judgements and orders passed by the courts
in India. On enactment of the Judicial Committee Act, 1833, it came to be called the Judicial
Committee of Privy Council. The decisions of the Judicial Committee used to be couched in
advisory form, though, in practice, the Crown always accepted its advice, and it was unthinkable
that its report will not be given effect to. The Privy Council acted as a channel, through which
English concepts came to be assimilated with Indian laws. It served as a bridge between the
Indian and the English legal system, over which legal ideas travelled from England to India. It
was through this body, that the common law of England was introduced in India under the
British regime, as the base of its legal system. During its career as the highest court of appeals
from India for the period of about 200 years, Privy Council rendered over 2,500 judgements, and
till today these judgements constitute the fountain-source of law on many points in India.
However, there was a rising demand for establishment of Supreme Court in India, since it
was felt that appeal to the Privy Council was very costly and beyond the means of common man.
More important was the reason that it detracted from the self respect of the Indian people.