India 2015:Law and Justice
India 2015:Law and Justice
Date: March 17, 2015
India 2015 Supreme Court High Court National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms Border Security Force Central Industrial Security Force
Law and Justice
THE Constitution of India guarantees, besides other rights, protection of life and personal liberty and provides adequate safeguards against the arbitrary deprivation thereof by the State. Adoption of a Constitution by India in 1950 did not disturb continuity of existing laws and unified structure of courts. Unity and uniformity of the judicial structure were preserved by placing such areas of law as criminal law and procedure, civil procedure, will, succession, contracts including special form of contracts, but not including contracts relating to agricultural land, registration of deeds and documents, evidence, etc. in the Concurrent List.
Source of Law
The main sources of law in India are the Constitution, statutes (legislation), customary law and case law. Statutes are enacted by Parliament, State legislatures and Union Territory legislatures. Besides, there is a vast body of laws known as subordinate legislation in the form of rules, regulations as well as bye-laws corporations, municipalities, gram panchayats and other local bodies.
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 Supreme Court of India at present comprises the Chief Justice and 28 other judges appointed by the President of India. Supreme Court judge retire upon attaining the age of 65 years. In order to be appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court, a person must be a citizen of India and must have been, for at least five years, a Judge of a High Court or of two or more such courts in succession for an Advocate of a High Court or of two or more such courts in succession for at least 10 years, or he must be, in the opinion of the President, a distinguished jurist.
The proceedings of the Supreme Court are conducted in English only. Supreme Court Rules, 1966 are framed under Article 145 of the Constitution to regulate the practice and procedure of the Court.
The Supreme Court of India has original jurisdiction in any dispute arising : (a) between the Government of India and one or more states or (b) between the Government of India and any state or states on the one side and one or more states on the other, or (c) between two or more states.
High Court stands at the head of the state’s Judicial Administration. There are 24 High Courts in the country, three having jurisdiction over more than one state. Among the Union Territories, Delhi alone has a High Court of its own
Jurisdiction and Seat of High Courts
Name of High Courts, Their Principle Seats, Benches and Their Jurisdiction
The structure and functions of subordinate courts are more or less uniform throughout the country. Designations of courts connote their functions. These courts deal with all disputes of civil or criminal nature as per the powers conferred on them. These courts follow two important codes prescribing procedures, i.e., the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and further strengthened by state level amendments.
The following initiatives/schemes have been undertaken by the Department of Justice for facilitating improvement in administration of justice delivery system.
National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms
The National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms was set up in August. 2011 to achieve twin goals of (i) increasing access by reducing delays and arrears; and (ii) enhancing accountability through structural changes and by setting performance standards and capacities. The Mission is pursuing five strategic initiatives (i) outlining policy and legislative changes (ii) re-engineering of procedures and court processes (iii) focusing on human resource development, (iv) leveraging information and communication technology and tools for better justice delivery and (v) improving infrastructure.
The Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 was enacted for establishment of Gram Nyayalayas at the intermediate panchayat level with a view to providing access to justice to citizens at their doorsteps. The Act had come into force from October, 2009. In terms of Sections 3 (1) of the Act, it is for the state governments to establish Gram Nyayalayas in consultation with the respective high courts.
As per information available, 172 Gram Nyayalayas have been notified by various state governments out of them 152 have become operational.
The police force in the country is entrusted with the responsibility of maintenance of public order and prevention and detection of crimes. Public order and police being state subjects under the Constitution, police is maintained and controlled by states.
The police force in a state is headed by the Director General of Police/Inspector General of Police. State is divided into convenient territorial divisions called ranges and each police range is under the administrative control of a Deputy Inspector General of Police. A number of districts constitute the range. District police is further sub-divided into police divisions, circles and police-stations.
Indo-Tibetan Border Police
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was raised on October 24, 1962 in the wake of Chinese aggression for re-organizing the frontier intelligence and security setup along the Indo-Tibetan border covering 2115 kms from Karakoram pass to Lipulekh pass.
ITBP is basically a mountain trained force and most of the officers and men are professionally trained mountaineers and skiers. They have scaled more than 180 Himalayan peaks including Mt. Everest four times including the recent successful expedition in 2012. ITBP mountaineers have also successfully climbed peaks in Nepal, Iran, Japan and South America.
Border Security Force
International borders of India with Pakistan both east and west were being manned by the respective state polices forces till Indo-Pak war in September 1965. Certain inherent shortcomings of this arrangement came to light during the war and it was and it was decided to have one single force under the Union of India for guarding the international borders with Pakistan.
The Assam Rifles raised as Catchar Levy in 1835 is the oldest Central Para Military Force in India. The Force was raised primarily to guard the alluvial plains of Assam from the wild and unruly tribes inhabiting the surrounding hill tracts. This was the earliest embodied unit of what eventually developed into the Assam Rifles. Gradually more such units were raised and employed for establishing posts in the interior and thus acted as the strong arm of the civil administration in extending the authority of the Britishers. The Force also helped in opening up these inaccessible and isolated areas and in undertaking development activities; earning many accolades from the administration.
National Security Guard
Terrorism, both national and international raised its head in the west during the seventies. It manifested in many forms including hijacking of aircraft, taking of hostages, assassination of dignitaries and others. The normal law and order machinery and the defense forces of the West were found wanting to deal with this menace. Specially equipped and trained forces like SAS of UK, Delta Force of USA and GSG-9 West Germany were raised abroad. The need for creating a special forces for executing surgical operations based on tactical intelligence was felt in India when Operation Blue Star was carried out by the army at the Golden Temple, Amritsar in 1984. This operation not only caused extensive damage to the Golden Temple but also occasioned a large number of casualties, and above all the Sikh psyche was badly hurt. National Security Guard (NSG) was conceptualized and created after studying and analyzing Special Force like SAS in the United Kingdom, GIGN in France, GSG-9 in Germany Shar-et-matkal in Israel and Delta Force in the USA.
Central Reserve Police Force
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was formed 71 years ago in July, 1939 at Neemuch as the Crown Representative’s Police. After independence it was renamed as the Central Reserve Police Force and Late Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, the then Home Minister had visualized a multi-dimensional role for it.
The CRPF has also been deployed internationally at Kosovo, Haiti and Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, two CRPF Battalions and one company of Mahila Battalion were a part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force.
Rapid Action Force
President colour to Rapid Action Force (RAF) was presented in October 2003. CRPF is the first central armed police force who have two Presidential colours. RAF was raised to deal with communal problems and continues to deal with militancy in J and K and Punjab, insurgency in north-east, overseas deployment for UN Peace Keeping in Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo, rescue and relief (Odisha super cyclone, Gujarat and J and K earthquake).
Central Industrial Security Force
Raised in 1969, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is providing security cover to 303 units including 59 domestic and international airports and fire protection cover to 87 industrial undertakings. In a span of four decades, the Force has grown several fold and crossed 1,36,129 personal as on date as in June 2013. With globalization and liberalization of the economy, CISF is no longer a PSU-centric organization. Instead, it has become a premier multi-skilled security agency of the country, mandated to provide security to major critical infrastructure installations of the country in diverse regions including terrorist and naxal affected areas.
Sashastra Seema Bal
The ‘Sashastra Seema Bal” (SSB) is the newest border guarding force of Union of India entrusted with the guarding of Indo-Nepal border since 2001 and was also given the additional responsibility of guarding Indo-Bhutan border in 2004. Sashastra Seema Bal came into existence under the name Special Service Bureau in early 1963 in the wake of Indo-China conflict.