Hierarchy of Civil Courts

The hierarchy of courts in civil matters

Civil wrongs

The wrongs are basically of two types: criminal and civil. Civil wrongs include torts, breach of contract, family issues, and matter related to properties, cheque bounce etc.

Section 9 of CPC states the jurisdiction of civil courts in India. It provides that the courts shall (subject to the provisions herein contained) have jurisdiction to try all suits of a civil nature except the fact that they are expressly and impliedly barred.

Judicial System

The judicial system of India is in hierarchal form. The courts have been authorized with different powers. At every level, courts have been authorized with power. From district to India as a whole, courts have been set up at different levels. The courts follow in hierarchy in terms of powers and jurisdictions. The hierarchy of courts in civil matters in India is discussed below.

Supreme court

The highest judicial authority of the country is the Supreme Court. When the cases have been tried in all the other courts and the parties are not satisfied with the decision of the courts, they have the right to approach the Supreme Court for seeking justice. Supreme court has the original, appellate and advisory jurisdiction.

The appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in the civil matters in provided under Constitution of India.  Appeals lie to the Supreme Court in civil matters if the High Court certifies: (a) that the case involves a substantial question of law of general importance, and (b) that, in the opinion of the High Court, the said question needs to be decided by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has the authority to decide the case as it thinks fit.

Article 133 of Indian Constitution provides that an appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court from any judgment, decree or final order in a civil proceeding of a High Court of any state only if High Court certifies it  under Article 134-A – (a) that the case involves a substantial question of law of general importance; and (b) that in the opinion of the High Court the said question needs to be decided by the Supreme Court.

High Court

The High Court is the highest judicial authority for each state in India. Each state has a High Court to deal with the matters that come from the lower courts. The High Courts help in decreasing the burden of Supreme Court as only cases where substantial question of law arises are appealed to the Supreme Court.

In civil casesan appeal can be made to the High Court against the decision of district courts. An appeal can also be made from the subordinate court, when the dispute involves a value higher than Rs. 5000/- or on a question.

District Court

Every district has a district court. The cities or towns have a district and sessions court where civil and criminal cases are looked upon. The court has a district Judge. While deciding the civil matters the judge is known as District Judge. The matters from the lower authorities in the district court come to the District Judge after they have been tried in all the lower courts. The district court also has some divisions.

The Court of Civil Judge of Senior Division comes at the higher level of the hierarchy on the civil cases. Civil Judge or Senior Division has the authority to try civil cases related to any value. There are many additional courts of Additional Civil Judge (senior division). Such additional courts have the same jurisdiction as exercised by the court of Civil Judge or Senior Division

The Court of Civil Judge of Junior Division is the lowest level of deciding the civil cases. It has the power to impose any sentence as per the the law and it can provide capital punishment too. Civil Judge of Junior Division can extend its jurisdiction to all the original suits and proceedings. 

Court of Small Causes

There are many civil matters which go to the different courts. Courts such as rent control authority are set to look upon the cases related to rents. Such courts are different from the district courts and deal with the cases specially of one type. Such courts are of lower authority.


The civil matters are appealed in the higher courts as they have more power. The hierarchy of courts provide for the courts at different levels from lower to higher. The highest judicial authority is the one where cases are transferred when they have been decided in the district and High Courts. The lower courts are like supporting hands of the higher ones and vice versa.

Edited by Pushpamrita Roy

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje 

Sejal Makkad
I am Sejal Makkad, a student of Amity Law School, Amity University Chhattisgarh, pursuing BA LLB(H), currently in Semester VI. Apart from the daily routine of assignments and tests in college, I indulge myself in writing research papers. I look forward for conferences in different colleges to be a part of them. The research which I do in various topics increases my knowledge in such subjects which are not in the syllabus. This is a bonus point of writing articles and papers. Apart from the academics, I love to sketch and paint in my free time. I am also a cynophilist. I am interested in criminals laws, human rights mostly. The most favourite task for is to eat whole day because food is what makes me the happiest.