District Courts of India are subordinate to the High Courts. Each district has a District and Sessions Judge as the highest judicial authority.
They also have the hierarchy with respect to civil and criminal matters. It is a three tier system where for the civil matters Court of Civil Judge (Junior Division or Munsiff) is the lowest then comes the Court of Civil Judge (Senior Division) and at the apex is the District Judge. In case of criminal matters the hierarchy is at the lowest Judicial Magistrate of 2nd class then comes Judicial Magistrate of 1st Class and at the apex is the Chief Judicial Magistrate.
A graphical representation of the hierarchy of courts in India is provided in the World of Law section.
District Court Judges
District Court Judges are appointed under Article 233 of the Constitution of India by the Governor in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of the concerned State. To be a District Court Judge one should have practiced as a lawyer for seven years at the bar. The appointment of a District Judges is notified by the State Government. Depending on the workload, Additional District Judges and Assistant District Judges are also appointed. The supervisory control over Additional District judge and Assistant District Judge vests with the District Judge which also includes decisions on allocation of work among them. District Judge is also referred to as Metropolitan Session Judge when the District Court is in a Metropolitan area. Governor has the power to remove a District Judge or Additional Judge on the recommendation of the High Court Collegium.
Jurisdiction of District Court
District Courts and Additional District Courts enjoy both original and appellate jurisdiction in civil as well as criminal matters. The maximum punishment which can be awarded by a Sessions Judge is death. There are certain matters of criminal or civil nature which can only be tried by District Court and not by any subordinate court; in such cases they exercise their original jurisdiction. Appeals from every District Court go to the High Court of the concerned State.
We have provided a directory of the District Courts in India, which is searchable by clicking on the map of India.