Subordinate or Lower Courts in Districts

Articles 233 to 237 in Part VI of the Constitution make the following provisions to regulate the organization of subordinate courts and to ensure their independence from the executive.


Qualifications and Appointment of District Judges—

Appointments of persons to be, and the posting and promotion of, district judges in any State shall be made by the Governor of the State in consultation with the High Court exercising jurisdiction in relation to such State.

A person to be appointed as district judge should have the following qualifications:

[1] He should not already be in the service of the Central or the state government.

[2] He should have been an advocate or a pleader for seven years.

[3] He should be recommended by the high court for appointment.

The district judge is the highest judicial authority in the district.

He possesses original and appellate jurisdiction in both civil as well as criminal matters.

In other words, the district judge is also the sessions judge.

When he deals with civil cases, he is known as the district judge and when he hears the criminal cases, he is called as the sessions judge.


Appointment of other Judges—

Appointment of persons (other than district judges) to the judicial service of a state is made by the governor of the state after consultation with the State Public Service Commission and the high court.


The expression “district judge” includes judge of a city civil court, additional district judge, joint district judge, assistant district judge, chief judge of additional chief presidency magistrate, sessions judge, additional sessions judge and assistant sessions Judge.

The expression “judicial service” means a service consisting exclusively of persons intended to fill the post of district judge and other civil judicial posts inferior to the post of district judge.


In each district of India there are various types of subordinate or lower courts.

They are civil courts, criminal courts and revenue courts.

These Courts hear civil cases, criminal cases and revenue cases, respectively.

Civil cases—

Civil cases pertain to disputes between two or more persons regarding property, breach of agreement or contract, divorce or landlord – tenant disputes.

Civil Courts settle these disputes.

They do not award any punishment as violation of law is not involved in civil cases.

Criminal cases—

Criminal cases relate to violation of laws.

These cases involve theft, dacoity, rape, pickpocketing, physical assault, murder, etc.

These cases are filed in the lower court by the police, on behalf of the state, against the accused.

In such cases the accused, if found guilty, is awarded punishment like fine, imprisonment or even death sentence.

Revenue cases—

Revenue cases relate to land revenue on agriculture land in the district.