The hierarchy of courts that lie subordinate to High Courts are referred to as subordinate courts. It is for the state governments to enact for the creation of subordinate courts. The nomenclature of these subordinate courts differs from state to state but broadly there is uniformity in terms of the organisational structure. Below the High Courts, there are District Courts for each district, and has appellate jurisdiction in the district. Under the district courts, there are the lower courts such as the Additional District Court, Sub Court, Munsiff Magistrate Court, Court of Special Judicial Magistrate of II class, Court of Special Judicial Magistrate of I class, Court of Special Munsiff Magistrate for Factories Act and labour laws, etc. Below the subordinate courts, at the grass root level is the Panchayat Courts (Nyaya Panchayat, Gram Panchayat, Panchayat Adalat, etc.).
These are, however, not considered as courts under the purview of the criminal courts jurisdiction. District Courts can take cognisance of original matters under special status. The Governor, in consultation with the High Court, makes appointments pertaining to the district courts. Appointment of persons other than the District Judges to the judicial service of a state is made by the Governor in accordance with the rules made by him in that behalf after consultation with the High Court and the State Public Service Commission. The High Court exercises administrative control over the district courts and the courts subordinate to them, in matters as posting, promotions and granting of leave to all persons belonging to the state judicial service.
Subordinate Courts to High Court
1. District Judges
These courts are primarily Civil Courts to hear generally the appeals from the courts of original civil jurisdiction in the Districts and Tehsils (Talukas). However these courts have also been given original civil jurisdiction under many enactments.
2. Sessions Judges
These courts are primarily Criminal Courts, with jurisdiction to revise the orders from the subordinate magistrates as well as to try serious offences, as prescribed by law.
3. Appellate Co-Operative Courts
These courts hear only the Appeals and revisions emanating from the judgments and orders of the subordinate original Co-Operative Courts and officers, under the provisions of various Co-Operative and related laws.
4. Appellate Labour Courts
These courts hear only the Appeals and revisions emanating from the judgments and orders of the subordinate original Labour Courts and officers, under the provisions of various labour and related laws.
5. Income Tax Tribunals
These courts though being primarily administrative in nature, yet they hear the Appeals and revisions emanating from the judgments and orders of the subordinate officers of the department, under the provisions of the Income Tax and other relevant laws.
6. Central Excise Tribunal
These courts though being primarily administrative in nature, yet they hear the Appeals and revisions emanating from the judgments and orders of the subordinate officers of the department, under the provisions of the Central Excise Act and other relevant laws.
7. Sales Tax Tribunals
These courts though being primarily administrative in nature, yet they hear the Appeals and revisions emanating from the judgments and orders of the subordinate officers of the department, under the provisions of the Sales Tax and other relevant laws of both the union government as well as various state governments.
8. City Civil & Sessions Courts
These Courts are only in the Presidency Towns of Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, and are primarily Civil Courts of original jurisdiction of higher monetary valued suits, however these courts have also been given powers of certain appeals against its subordinate small causes courts. The sessions courts are primarily Criminal Courts, with jurisdiction to revise the orders from the subordinate metropolitan magistrates as well as to try serious offences, as prescribed by law.
9. Accident Claims Tribunals
These tribunal try only the Claims of the victims of various road and rail accidents. Though there are very few rail Accident tribunals, however there is generally at least one Motor Accident Claims Tribunals in every district. These courts have a completely different Court Fees structure compared to those of the regular civil courts of original jurisdiction.
10. Revenue Tribunals and other subordinate Revenue Courts
There are various revenue Tribunals and other subordinate revenue Appellate bodies in the administrative hierarchy of the Revenue Departments of various State Governments to hear the matters pertaining to the land revenue and other relevant laws of various states
11. Special Courts
The governments from time to time also appoint certain Special Courts to try particular matters deemed to be very important for public life, and for expeditiously trying these matters, which are mainly treated as very grave and heinous compared to the actual charges of sections framed against the persons tried, mainly as leading public enemies.
There are also other courts not subordinate to any of the High Courts, but where only a writ may lie before the High Court or only to the Supreme Court.
12. Administrative Tribunals
The Central Government as well as the State Governments have set up various administrative tribunals for the purpose of conducting various disciplinary actions against their senior and other employees, as well as for their grievance redressed. These tribunals work under special laws framed, and form a hierarchical pattern for the conduct of their business.
13. Military and other similar Courts
These Courts also known for their procedure called Court Marshall, are made in the administrative hierarchy to the army, navy and air force of the nation under various acts governing them individually, and are completely separated from any other procedure or court, though still well within the four corners of the national constitution.
Sub-Subordinate Courts:(Also called the Original courts - due to the litigation begins mostly in these courts)
1. Principal Civil Judges (SD & JD)
Depending on the monetary jurisdiction assigned to the category of the court, all the civil litigation matters are filed before the courts of the original civil jurisdiction, either the Senior Division or the Junior Division. Most of the times there are more than one Judges of the Junior Division in every Tehsil, and of Senior Division in every District.
2. The Chief Judicial Magistrates and other Judicial Magistrates of First Class
Every district is headed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate who heads over the other Judicial Magistrates of First Class in every Tehsil, these courts being primary criminal courts, where every offender is first produced after arrest by the police.
2-A. Special Executive Magistrates
These and other Magistrates of the Second class are appointed for trying of very minor criminal offences and quasi criminal matters, and generally report directly to and are subordinate to the Chief Judicial Magistrates, who also generally hears appeals against the orders passed by these magistrates.
3. Co-Operative Courts
These courts are courts with original jurisdiction, formed for hearing the cases directly filed under the various Co-Operative Laws, and also in the form of appeal against certain administrative orders of the Co-Operative Registrars and Sub-Registrars.
3-A. Co-Operative Registrar
Works as per the assignment and powers granted under various Co-Operative laws, and generally hold supervisory judicial powers including those of revision of the orders of the Sub-Registrars of Co-Operatives, directly subordinate to them.
3-B. Co-Operative Sub-Registrar
The officers of the lowest rank, who can entertain and decide various applications under various Co-Operative Laws.
4. Labour Courts
These Courts normally found in every District, are the courts of original jurisdiction under the provisions of various Labour Laws and enactments, including powers to enforce various rules framed under those enactments.
5. Tax officers' hierarchy
There is a hierarchy of officers in various and different Government departments of taxation, who decide not only the original applications and matters, but also entertain appeals against the orders of their hierarchical subordinates.
6. Small Causes Courts
These courts, a legacy of the British Raj, are the courts of original civil jurisdiction in minor civil matters and litigation and only in the presidency towns of Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. Though under certain acts, exclusive jurisdiction, irrespective of the monetary valuation of the subject matter, is granted to these courts.
7. Courts of the Metropolitan Magistrates
Again another legacy of the British Raj, these courts are the courts of original criminal jurisdiction in the presidency towns of Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. Though under certain acts, exclusive jurisdiction, where every offender is first produced after arrest by the police.
8. Revenue Officers' hierarchy
All the matters pertaining to the Land revenue, an exclusive state subject, are decided at various levels by certain officers of the revenue departments of the State governments, the lowest of them being the Talathi of Patwari at Village level, going up to the Circle Inspector, by whichever name known, and supervised in effect by the officers of the rank of Tehsildar - also known in many places as the Mamletdar, who also get their powers many a times under special laws framed for their conduct of allocated business, and for the procedure to be followed in their courts.
Normally an appeal lies form the orders of each one of the aforestated officers in the hierarchy of the Land Revenue Officers before an officer of the rank of an Assistant Collector, being the person in-charge of a part of a revenue district, who in turn reports to and is subjudicated by the Collector in the district, and further in the hierarchical order by a Divisional Commissioner heading a group of revenue districts in a state, who are all under the State level Revenue Tribunal.
9. Administrative hierarchy
Similar to the hierarchy in the Land Revenue Department, there are various hierarchies in also the other government and semi-government departments, who basically decide on the routine administrative and Human Resources as well as the disciplinary matters, including the conduct of the internal enquiries, and in all these hierarchies, there are always superior officers appointed at various stages, to supervise, overlook and even hear appeals against the orders passed by the hierarchically subordinate officers of various such departments.
10. Police hierarchy
Similar to the previous hierarchies of various Departments, there are certain matters routinely handled by superior officers of the ranks of Assistant Police Commissioners and Deputy superintendent of Police (the rank at the initialisation stages of the officers of the Indian Police Service Rank) which handle various minor criminal matters like externment, habitual offenders, property possession disputes leading to breach of law and order etc., against whose orders appeals can be made to higher officials in the same hierarchy.