Tutorial 14 Judiciary in West Bengal_1

Tutorial 14: Judiciary in West Bengal

4 min


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The Judiciary in West Bengal has comprised of the Calcutta High Court and of the District Courts, a system of lower courts under the Calcutta High Court, for example, labour and tribunal courts. In the state of West Bengal, the High Court is the highest court of justice. A Chief Justice and a few other judges regulating the High Court. There are 02 types of Jurisdictions under the control of the High Courts: 

➢ the Original Jurisdiction and

➢ the Appellate Jurisdiction.

(I). HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE HIGH COURT

In West Bengal, the High Court at Calcutta was established on 1st July 1862 under the High Courts Act, 1861 but prior to that, it was known as the High Court of judicature at Fort William.

The Calcutta High Court was authorised to hear appeals from the decisions of all the criminal and other courts of the Purulia, West Midnapore provinces and all other courts subject to its superintendence. It could hear appeals in benches of two or more judges of its own court sitting on the civilian side. It was also declared to be the court of reference and revision from the criminal courts. It had the power to transfer any criminal case or appeal from any superior jurisdiction.

(II). CALCUTTA HIGH COURT

The Calcutta High Court is famous for the oldest High Court in India and it was established on 1st July 1862 based on the High Court’s Act, 1861. Under its jurisdiction covers the entire state of West Bengal and the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The jurisdiction of the Calcutta High Court was expanded to cover Chandernagore (formerly a French colony) and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as of May 2, 1950.

The Calcutta High Court extended its controls 03 High Courts of India those are established in the Presidency towns:

in Calcutta (Capital of West Bengal)

in Port Blair (which is the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands) and

in Jalpaiguri (which is the divisional headquarters of the North Bengal region in West Bengal).

The architecture of the Calcutta High Court was based on the model of Stadt-Haus (also known as Cloth Hall of Belgium). It was architected by Mr Walter Granville, a famous architect. 

Under the High Court of Kolkata, there are 02 types of courts: One is the criminal court that deals with criminal matters and the other is the civil court that deals with civil issues.

➢ The first Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court was Sir Barnes Peacock.

➢ On 2nd February 1863, Sumboo Nath Pandit was the first Indian to assume office as a Judge of Calcutta High Court.

Phani Bhusan Chakravarti became the first Indian to be permanent Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court.

➢ The longest-serving Chief Justice was Sankar Prasad Mitra.

T B N Radhakrishnan is the current Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court (as of 06th March 2021).

Tutorial 14 Judiciary in West Bengal_2

(III). DISTRICT COURT AND SESSIONS COURTS

Each district in the state has the highest courts: District Court and Sessions Courts. District Courts of West Bengal are primarily civil courts to hear generally the appeals from the courts of original Civil Jurisdiction in the districts. It has also the power to entertain original matters where a matter can be directly filed before it.

Kolkata is the capital of West Bengal and is declared a Metropolitan city, where criminal cases are settled by the Metropolitan Magistrates and civil suits are adjudicated by the city civil courts.

Outside Kolkata, criminal cases are adjudicated by Chief Judicial Magistrate. Due to the increasing number of cases and the growing population in every district, District courts are established. It administers justice at the district level.

District Courts are under the administrative authority of the Calcutta High Court. The decisions of the District Court are controlled by the appellate jurisdiction of the Calcutta High Court.

District Judge is appointed by the State Government who presides over district court.

In West Bengal, the District Court has appellate jurisdiction over all courts subordinate to it in both civil and criminal matters.

(IV). OTHER LOWER COURTS

➢ Subordinate Courts in a district, on the civil side (in ascending order), are as follows:

• Junior Civil Judge Court,

• Senior Civil Judge Court (previously known as sub-court).

➢ Subordinate Courts, on the criminal side (in ascending order), are as follows:

Second Class Judicial Magistrate Court,

First Class Judicial Magistrate Court and

• Chief Judicial Magistrate Court etc.

(V). LABOUR COURTS

Labour Courts are established in many districts of West Bengal. Under the Industrial Dispute Act of 1947, the Labour Courts and the Industrial Tribunal are set up in the state. A labour court has original jurisdiction under the provisions of many Labour Laws and enactments. It has also got the power to enforce various rules framed under Labour Acts and enactments. These courts provide speedy justice to the issues of suspension of labours from work, legal dimensions of the strike, the welfare of labours, fixing of wages, duration of duty and other collective problems of labours. These courts fall under the stringent surveillance of the Calcutta High Court.

The Labour Court is presided by an officer who has served one of the judicial officers for a minimum term of 07 years or has been a presiding officer in one of the Labour Court under the State Act for a minimum of 05 years.

Additionally, the presiding officer must be appointed as a District Judge or Additional District Judge for a continuous period of 03 years or a judge of the High Court. Appeal and revision from the judgements and orders of the subordinate original Labour Courts can be filed in City Civil and Session Courts. Apart from these courts, there are different Tribunals, viz., Motor Accident-claim Tribunals, Revenue Tribunals, Administrative Tribunals and Debt Recovery Tribunals to dissolve related litigations.

(VI). COURT INFORMATION SYSTEM

Recent advancement of Information and Communication Technology has changed the scenario of legal information system. Indian Courts with the help of the National Informatics Centre have taken initiatives for digital access of legal information without adequate information support, legal professionals find it very difficult to proceed effectively in fighting varied cases for getting desired results. The picture is not different in West Bengal. For the collection and organisation of legal information, special orientation and training are must. But in West Bengal, there is no scope for such specialised training.

Indian Judiciary is now overburdened with pending cases. For speedy dispensation of justice, the increase in the number of courts and judges is not only important but easy and speedy access to legal information is also equally important.

Tutorial 14 Judiciary in West Bengal_3

Read-More_4

Tutorial 13: Communication in West Bengal

Tutorial 12: Animal Husbandry in West Bengal

Tutorial 10: National Parks And Wildlife Sanctuaries in West Bengal

Tutorial 09: Drainage System / River System of West Bengal

Tutorial 08: Types of Soil in West Bengal

Tutorial 07: Climate of West Bengal

Tutorial 06: Natural Vegetation of West Bengal

Tutorial 05: Geographical Features of West Bengal

Tutorial 04: Modern History of Bengal & Popular Movement

 


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