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.
  • 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 made by Central/State governments and local authorities like municipal corporations, municipalities, gram panchayats.
  • This subordinate legislation is made under the authority conferred or delegated either by Parliament or State or Union Territory legislatures concerned.
  • Judicial decisions of superior courts like Supreme Court and High Courts are important source 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.
  • The Parliament is competent to make laws on matters enumerated in Union List.
  • 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.


  • 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, , to decide civil and criminal disputes of petty and local nature.
  • 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 second class.

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