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District Judiciary in India

District Judiciary
District Judiciary

The system of subordinate courts plays a crucial role in the judiciary of each State, operating beneath the High Court. Articles 233-237 of the Constitution govern the organisation and independence of these courts, ensuring their impartiality and integrity. 

Over time, the Supreme Court has underscored the importance of maintaining the autonomy of subordinate judiciary, as they are closely connected with the populace.

Consequently, the Supreme Court has expanded the authority of High Courts over these courts to safeguard their independence from executive influence.

The subordinate judiciary serves as the frontline of the judicial system, directly engaging with citizens.

Therefore, it is imperative to uphold their independence and credibility, a purpose articulated through Articles 233-237 of the Constitution.


These articles have been interpreted by the Supreme Court to reinforce the control of High Courts over the subordinate judiciary, emphasising the responsibility of each High Court to preserve the honour and integrity of these courts within their respective States.

In the case of All India Judges Association v. Union of India, the Supreme Court highlighted the pivotal role of an independent and efficient judicial system, declaring it as a fundamental aspect of the Constitution's basic structure.

Insufficient appointments of judges would impede access to justice, undermining this fundamental structure.

Regarding the appointment of District Judges, Article 233(1) mandates the Governor, in consultation with the High Court, to appoint, post, and promote District Judges.

Eligibility criteria for such appointments include a minimum of seven years of practice as an advocate or pleader, with recommendations from the High Court.

Article 233(2) outlines two sources of recruitment for District Judges: individuals already in the service of the Union or State, and members of the Bar. The Supreme Court, in the case of Chandra Mohan v. State of Uttar Pradesh, clarified that the term "service" in Article 233 refers specifically to service related to courts.

For the appointment of subordinate judges, Article 234 stipulates that the Governor, following consultation with the State Public Service Commission and the High Court, appoints individuals to the State Judicial Service in accordance with established rules. Consultation with the High Court is mandatory, and rules made by the State Government without such consultation would be deemed invalid.

In the case of Ashok Kumar Yadav v. State of Haryana, the Supreme Court outlined a procedure for the recruitment of subordinate judges, emphasising the significant role of the High Court in the process.

Article 235 vests control over district and subordinate courts, including the posting, promotion, and grant of leave to personnel below the rank of District Judge, in the High Court.

However, the High Court must adhere to the prescribed conditions of service established by law when dealing with such personnel.


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