The main sources of law in India
are the Constitution, statutes (legislation), customary law, and
case law, and case law. The statutes are enacted by Parliament,
state legislatures and union territory legislatures.
Because India is a land of
diversity, local customs and conventions that are not against
statue or morality or otherwise undesirable are, to a limited
extent, also recognized and taken into account by the courts
while they administer justice in certain spheres. Also, people of
different religions and traditions are governed by different sets
of personal law with respect to matters relating to family
A unique feature of the India
Constitution is the judicial system. A single integrated systems
of courts administers both union and state laws. The Supreme
Court of India, seated in New Delhi, is the highest body in the
entire judicial system. Each state or a group of states had High
Court under which there is a hierarchy of subordinate courts.
The Chief Justice and the other
judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President. The
Supreme Court has original, appellate and advisory jurisdiction.
Its original jurisdiction extends to the enforcement of
fundamental rights given by the Constitution and to any dispute
among states and the Government of India. The decisions of the
Supreme Court are binding on all courts within the territory of
While the judicial process is
considered fair, a large backlog of cases to be heard and
frequent adjournments can result in considerable delay before a
case is closed. However, matters of priority and public interest
may be dealt with expeditiously, and interim relief may be
allowed in other cases, where appropriate.
At the village level, people are
encouraged to solve their local problems with help of "Panchayats."
The Panchayat is a group of five respected people of the village
whose ruling on the matter is final.
To encourage trade and industry to
have recourse to arbitration rather than time-consuming court
litigation, the existing arbitration law is proposed to be
revised under the Arbitration and Conciliation Bill 1995.