The Judiciary consists of three tiers or levels. These tiers are District or Subordinate Courts,High Court and Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the highest judiciary body of India. It is an apex institution and is situated in the capital of India i.e.New Delhi. The High Court is the highest judiciary body of a State.Most of the states in India are having a High Court. Bihar also has a High Court situated in Patna. Apart from High Courts, the states also have subordinate courts that are situated in districts.
High Court (Bihar GK in English)
Article 214 to 231 of the Indian Constitution provides provisions for the establishment of a High Court in each state.High Court stands at the head of the state’s judicial administration. Under Article 231, some powers have been given to the Parliament for creation of common High Court for two or more states.High Court is headed by a Chief Justice and other judges.
According to Article 217, Chief Justice of a High Court is appointed by the President with the consent of the Governor. The Judges of High Court is/are appointed by the President in consultation with Chief Justice of India and the Governor of the concerned state. The other judges of a state are appointed in consultation with Chief Judge of High Court.A person to be appointed as a judge of a high court, should have the following qualifications:
1. He should be a citizen of India.
2. (a) He should have held a judicial office in the territory of India for ten years; or
(b) He should have been an advocate of a high court (or high courts in succession) for ten years.
They hold office till the age of 62 years.
High Court in Bihar
The High Court in the State of Bihar is located in Patna. The foundation stone of High Court building at Patna was laid by the then Viceroy of India, Lord Hardinge, on 1st December, 1913 and the building was inaugurated on 3rd February, 1916.
The Patna High Court started its work in 1916 with the Chief Justice and six other Judges. In the year 1947, the sanctioned strength of the Court was nine permanent and three additional Judges. Though a separate province for Odisha was created in the year 1937, this High Court exercised jurisdiction over the territories of both Bihar and Orissa till 26th July, 1948.
A separate High Court was constituted for Orissa in 1948. A circuit bench was opened for Patna High Court at Ranchi in 1972. This circuit bench became the Jharkhand High Court under the Bihar Reorganisation Act of 2000 on November, 2000 when the separate state of Jharkhand was created. At present there are 29 permanent judges including the Chief Justice in the Patna High Court. This High Court has completed 100 years of its working on 3rd February, 2016.
Jurisdiction and Powers of High Court
Like the Supreme Court, the high court has been vested with quite extensive and effective powers. It is the highest court of appeal in the state. It is the protector of the Fundamental Rights of the citizens. It is vested with the power to interpret the Constitution. Besides, it has supervisory and consultative roles.
At present, a high court enjoys the following jurisdiction and powers:
1. Original jurisdiction.
2. Writ jurisdiction.
3. Appellate jurisdiction.
4. Supervisory jurisdiction.
5. Control over subordinate courts.
6. A court of record.
7. Power of judicial review.
The present jurisdiction and powers of a high court are governed by (a) the constitutional provisions, (b) the Letters Patent, (c) the Acts of Parliament, (d) the Acts of State Legislature, (e) Indian Penal Code, 1860, (f) Cirminal Procedure Code, 1973, and (g) Civil Procedure Code, 1908.
1. Original Jurisdiction
It means the power of a high court to hear disputes in the first instance, not by way of appeal. It extends to the following:
(a) Matters of admirality, will, marriage, divorce, company laws and contempt of court.
(b) Disputes relating to the election of members of Parliament and state legislatures.
(c) Regarding revenue matter or an act ordered or done in revenue collection.
(d) Enforcement of fundamental rights of citizens.
(e) Cases ordered to be transferred from a subordinate court involving the interpretation of the Constitution to its own file.
(f) The four high courts (i.e., Calcutta, Bombay, Madras and Delhi High Courts) have original civil jurisdiction in cases of higher value.
2. Writ Jurisdiction
Article 226 of the Constitution empowers a high court to issue writs including habeas corpus, mandamus, certiorari, prohibition and quo-warrento for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of the citizens and for any other purpose. The phrase ‘for any other purpose’ refers to the enforcement of an ordinary legal right. The high court can issue writs to any person, authority and government not only within its territorial jurisdiction but also outside its territorial jurisdiction if the cause of action arises within its territorial jurisdiction.
3. Appellate Jurisdiction
A high court is primarily a court of appeal. It hears appeals against the judgements of subordinate courts functioning in its territorial jurisdiction. It has appellate jurisdiction in both civil and criminal matters. Hence, the appellate jurisdiction of a high court is wider than its original jurisdiction.
4. Supervisory Jurisdiction
A high court has the power of superintendence over all courts and tribunals functioning in its territorial jurisdiction (except military courts or tribunals).
This power of superintendence of a high court is very broad because, (i) it extends to all courts and tribunals whether they are subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the high court or not; (ii) it covers not only administrative superintendence but also judicial superintendence; (iii) it is a revisional jurisdiction; and (iv) it can be suo-motu (on its own) and not necessarily on the application of a party.
5. Control over Subordinate Courts
In addition to its appellate jurisdiction and supervisory jurisdiction over the subordinate courts as mentioned above, a high court has an administrative control and other powers over them.
6. A Court of Record
As a court of record, a high court has two powers:
(a) The judgements, proceedings and acts of the high courts are recorded for perpetual memory and testimony. These records are admitted to be of evidentiary value and cannot be questioned when produced before any subordinate court. They are recognised as legal precedents and legal references.
(b) It has power to punish for contempt of court, either with simple imprisonment or with fine or with both.
7. Power of Judicial Review
Judicial review is the power of a high court to examine the constitutionality of legislative enactments and executive orders of both the Central and state governments. On examination, if they are found to be violative of the Constitution (ultra-vires), they can be declared as illegal, unconstitutional and invalid (null and viod) by the high court. Consequently, they cannot be enforced by the government.
Chief Justice of Patna High Court
Sir Edward Maynerd Champs Chamier
1st March, 1916
30th October, 1917
Sir Thomas Fredrick Dawson Miller
31st October, 1917
31st March, 1928
Sir Courtney Terrell
31st March, 1928
06th May, 1938
Sir Arther Trevor Harries
10th May, 1938
19th January, 1943
Sir Syed Fazil Ali
19th January, 1943
14th October, 1946
Sir Clifford Manmohan Agarwal
9th January, 1948
24th January, 1950
Sir Herbert Ribton Meredith
25th January, 1950
08th April, 1950
Pandit Lakshami Kant Jha
8th April, 1950
01st June, 1952
David Ezra Reuben
1st June, 1952
02nd September, 1953
Syed Jafar Imam
3rd September, 1953
10th January, 1955
Sudhansu Kumar Das
10th January, 1955
30th April, 1956
30th April, 1956
04th January, 1965
Ramaswamy Lakshmi Narasimhan
04th January, 1965
02nd August, 1968
Satish Chandra Mishra
09th November, 1968
05th September, 1970
Ujjwal Narayan Sinha
05th September, 1970
29th September, 1972
Nand Lal Untwalia
29th September, 1972
03rd October, 1974
Shyam Nandam Prasad Singh
3rd October, 1974
01th May, 1976
Krishna Ballabh Narayan Singh
19th July, 1976
12th March, 1982
Surjit Singh Sandhawalia
29th November, 1983
Bhagwati Prasad Jha
2nd January, 1988
02nd January, 1988
Deepak Kumar Sen
1st May, 1988
Shushil Kumar Jha
19th October, 1989
23th October, 1989
Gangadhar Ganesh Sohani
24th October, 1989
17th December, 1990
Bimal Chandra Basak
18th March, 1994
21st October, 1994
K S Paripoornan
24th January, 1994
19th September, 1994
06th March, 1995
G B Pattanaik
19th May, 1995
11th September, 1995
D P Wadhwa
29th September, 1995
21st March, 1997
B M Lal
9th July, 1997
06th October, 1999
Ravi S Dhavan
25th January, 2000
22nd July, 2004
Dr J N Bhatt
18th July, 2005
16th October, 2007
5th January, 2008
03rd March, 2008
R M Lodha
13th May, 2008
16th December, 2008
J B Koshy
16th March, 2009
12th May, 2009
P K Mishra
12th August, 2009
16th September, 2009
Rekha Manharlal Doshit
21st June, 2010
12th December, 2014
L Narasimha Reddy
2nd January, 2015
31th July, 2015
Iqbal Ahmed Ansari
29th July, 2016
28th October, 2016
12th August, 2018
17th November, 2018
Amreshwar Pratap Sahi
17th November, 2018
*As on 31st August, 2019
Prominent Judges from Bihar
➤ First Chief Justice of Patna High Court was Sir Justice Edward Maynard Des Champs Chamier.
➤ Lakshami Kant Jha was the first Indian Chief Justice of Patna High Court after independence.
➤ Justice Rekha Doshit, was the first woman Chief Justice of Patna High Court.
➤ Justice Gyan Sudha Misra is the first female judge of the Supreme Court of India from Bihar.
➤ Justice Bhuvaneshwar Prasad Sinha from Bihar served as the 6th Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India.
➤ Justice Lalit Mohan Sharma from Patna High Court served as the 24th Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India.
Subordinate Courts (Bihar GK in English)
Subordinate Courts in Bihar included District Courts, Lok Adalats and Lokayuktas.
The Constitution of High Court and District Court is formed as per Article 233 to 237 of the Indian Constitution. The District Court administers justice at district level. The District Court is presided over by District Judge who is appointed by the Governor in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of the concerned state.Other appointments to the judicial service is also made by the Governor in consultation with State Public Service Commission and the High Court. 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. The district judge exercises both judicial and administrative powers. He also has supervisory powers over all the subordinate courts in the district. Appeals against his orders and judgements lie to the High Court. The sessions judge has the power to impose any sentence including life imprisonment and capital punishment (death sentence). However, a capital punishment passed by him is subject to confirmation by the High Court, whether there is an appeal or not.
Below the District and Sessions Court stands the Court of Subordinate Judge on the civil side and the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate on the criminal side. The subordinate judge exercises unlimited pecuniary jurisdiction over civil suits. The chief judicial magistrate decides criminal cases which are punishable with imprisonment for a term up to seven years.
At the lowest level, on the civil side, is the Court of Munsiff and on the criminal side, is the Court of Judicial Magistrate. The munsiff possesses limited jurisdiction and decides civil cases of small pecuniary stake. The judicial magistrate tries criminal cases which are punishable with imprisonment for a term up to three years. The District Courts are of two types i.e. civil and criminal courts. They function under the superintendence and control of the High Court of the concerned state.
District Courts in Bihar
There are total 38 districts in Bihar. All the districts are having District or Subordinate Courts. The oldest District Court in Bihar is in Muzaffarpur. The judgeship was formed in the year 1875 and was under the Calcutta High Court at that time. Its territorial expansion was spread to the areas of Darbhanga,Motihari and Chhapra. Later the judgeship of Darbhanga was carved in 1898, Chhapra and Saran was carved in 1899.
By the year 1947, 13 judgeships were created in Bihar. After the separation of Odisha judgeship in 1948, new judgeships were created in different districts of Bihar.With the creation of Jharkhand State on 15th November, 2000, there was a bifurcation of Bihar Judiciary. The judgeship of Hazaribagh, Palamu, Singhbum and Dhanbad went to Jharkhand. The new judgeships were created in Jamui in 2005 and Sheohar in 2012 in Bihar respectively.
Gram Katchahary or Village Court in Bihar
The state of Bihar is the only State to set up Gram Katchahary or village court under Section 990 of Bihar Panchayati Raj Act 2006. The Gram Katchahary consists of five members including all the Panches and Sarpanch. One of them is elected as the judge of the proceedings. The Gram Katchahary has the right to hear cases related to the loss of movable property of less than ten thousand as per section 120 of the Civil Right Act. It is an initiative of the State Government to settle petty disputes without the loss of time or money. The police department gives necessary assistance for the proper functioning of the Gram Katchaharis. The Gram Katchahary functions under the Panchayati Raj Institutions in rural Bihar. They are formed for a period of five years from the date appointed. Sarpanch is elected leader of Gram Katchahary, Up-Sarpanch is Vice Chairperson and Panches are the elected members of it.
Lok Adalats are formed under the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987. They are organised at the central, state and district levels. Lok Adalats are set-up to provide speedy and economical justice and specially beneficial for the poor classes of the society. They deal with the civil cases,matrimonial disputes, property/land dealings and disputes, etc. The State and District bodies provide the authority and jurisdiction of Lok Adalats. Former Chief Justice of India, PN Bhagwati was mainly behind the idea of Lok Adalats.
The Act 1987 makes the following provisions relating to the organization and functioning of the Lok Adalats:
1. The State Legal Services Authority or the District Legal Services Authority or the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee or the High Court Legal Services Committee or the Taluk Legal Services Committee may organize Lok Adalats at such intervals and places and for exercising such jurisdiction and for such areas as it thinks fit.
2. Every Lok Adalat organized for an area shall consist of such number of serving or retired judicial officers and other persons of the area as may be specified by the agency organizing such Lok Adalat. Generally, a Lok Adalat consists of a judicial officer as the chairman and a lawyer (advocate) and a social worker as members.
3. A Lok Adalat shall have jurisdiction to determine and to arrive at a compromise or settlement between the parties to a dispute.
4. The Lok Adalat shall have the same powers as are vested in a Civil Court under the Code of Civil Procedure (1908).
5. An award of a Lok Adalat shall be deemed to be a decree of a Civil Court or an order of any other court. Every award made by a Lok Adalat shall be final and binding on all the parties to the dispute. No appeal shall lie to any court against the award of the Lok Adalat.
Lok Adalats in Bihar
The Bihar State Legal Services Authority (BSLSA) is constituted under the Legal Service Authority Act, 1987 to provide legal services to weaker sections of the society. There are three types of Lok Adalats running in Bihar. They are Continuous Lok Adalat,Mobile Lok Adalat and National Lok Adalat. These Adalats settle disputes by appeal in the court of law or at the pre-litigation stage by compromise.
The cases are settled by BSLSA.
Bihar Right to Public Grievance Redressal Act
The State of Bihar has implemented this Act from 5th June, 2016 to provide/address the grievances and complaints of common public and provide relief/benefit in a time bound manner i.e. within 60 days of lodging the complaint. The state provides online portal Lokshikayat.bihar.gov.in to provide support and information for lodging complaints.
The Lokayukta is an organisation that is formed in the Indian states to fight corruption. It represents the interests of the general public by addressing the maladministration and political corruption.
In case of states, the Lokayukta is appointed by the State Legislature which consists of the Chief Minister, Speaker,Opposition Leader and Chief Justice of High Court.
Once appointed, Lokayukta cannot be dismissed or transferred. It can be removed by passing an impeachment motion.
Lokayukta in Bihar
Lokayukta in Bihar was constituted under the Bihar Lokayukta Act of 1973. The State Government brought various changes in the Act under Bihar Lokayukta Act of 2012. The Lokayukta is extended to the whole of Bihar. It is appointed by the Governor of Bihar after consultation with the Chief Justice of Patna High Court and leader of the opposition of the Bihar State Legislative Assembly. It is appointed for a period of 5 years.
Structure of Bihar Lokayukta
Bihar Lokayukta consists of three members out of which two members should be from Bihar Judiciary serving or served as Judge of Bihar High Court.The three members consist of Chairperson, Judicial member and member.
The age of the members of Bihar Lokayukta should be less than 70 years. All the members of Bihar Lokayukta are appointed by the Governor of Bihar and are based on the recommendations of the Selection Committee. Each Lokayukta is named after its Chairperson. The first Chairperson of Bihar Lokayukta was Justice Sridhar Vasudev Sohoni.
The Advocate General of a State, also known as Solicitor General is a legal officer who is a Chief Representative of a region or a state. Advocate General advises State government on legal matters. The post of Advocate General is statutory in nature and created as per the Article 165 of the Indian Constitution. The Governor of a State appoints the Advocate General of that state. The proposal for appointment is moved at the level of Joint Secretary in the Department of Legal Affairs. Advocate General is assisted by Additional Advocate General.
Advocate General in Bihar
The Solicitor or Advocate General in Bihar is a law officer of the highest order and is appointed by the Governor of Bihar.He gives advices to State Legislature from time to time. The post of Advocate General was restored in Bihar from 1937 in the Patna High Court. So far 21 lawyers had served as Advocate General in Bihar Judiciary system.
Police Administration in Bihar (Bihar GK in English)
It is very important organisation in a state. In Bihar, the headquarters of police administration is in Patna. The Bihar Police Department is the law and order and law enforcement agency for the state of Bihar. Bihar Police comes under direct control of Department of Home Affairs,Government of Bihar.
The Bihar Police is headed by a Director General of Police (DGP; three-star rank).
The state is divided into four zones (Patna,Muzaffarpur,Darbhanga and Bhagalpur), each commanded by an Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) or an Inspector-General. Each zone is divided into two to three ranges, each commanded by a Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIGP).Within each range are anywhere from three to six districts, each under a Superintendent of Police.
Patna is under a Senior Superintendent of Police.