Hyderabad High Court of Andhra Pradesh

Hyderabad, High Court of Andhra Pradesh

Website: http://hc.ap.nic.in/

The State of Andhra Pradesh was formed by the merger of the Andhra area of the Madras Presidency – Governed by the British and the Telangana area of the former Indian State of Hyderabad ruled over by the Nizam of the Hyderabad.

THE HIGH COURT

The High Court stands on the south bank of the River Musi. This is one of the finest buildings in the city, built in red and white stones in Saracenic style, by Nizam VII Mir Osman Ali Khan.

The Plan of the High Court was drawn up by Shankar Lal of Jaipur and the local engineer who executed the design was Mehar Ali Fazil. The construction started on 15th April, 1915 and was completed on 31st March, 1919. On 20th April, 1920 the High Court building was inaugurated by Nizam VII.

It is interesting to note that while digging the foundation for the High Court, ruins of the Qutb Shahi Palaces, namely Hina Mahal and Nadi Mahal were unearthed. The High Court looks beautiful and impressive from the Naya Pul Bridge at sunset.

After its construction, a silver model of the High Court with a silver key was presented to the Nizam by the Judiciary during the Silver Jubilee Celebrations in 1936. The facsimile of the buildings was perfectly carved in a thick sheet of silver weighing about 300 kgs. The model is now in the Haveli Museum.

The main building of the High Court was constructed in the year 1919 by the then Nizam’s Government accommodating Six Judges besides accommodation for the Office Staff, record rooms and Advocates’ Hall.

When the High Court of Andhra Pradesh was formed in 1956 as a consequence of States Reorganisatin Act, the Judges strength was increased to 12. The existing accommodation at that time was only inadequate to meet the requirements of the larger High Court and so the additional building was constructed in 1958-59. The entire office rooms, record rooms, chambers of advocates (42 in all) and the rooms for law officers were located in this building. The record rooms, Officer rooms in the main building were modified to provide chambers and Court Hall accommodation for 14 Judges.

By 1970, the institution of cases of the High Court has gone upto 35,000 as against 20,000 in 1958. The Judges strength had also risen from 14 to 21. To provide additional accommodation for Judges, Staff and Advocates and Law Officers, the third building was proposed and the work was completed in 1976. The Law Officers strength was increased from 8 to 18 by 1980 and the institution of cases had gone upto 55,593 cases. In 1979 a plan was drawn for the four storeyed Annexe building and due to lack of funds that could not be taken up. There are at present 20 Court Halls and 24 Chambers located in the High Court main building and Annexe buildings. The present building for which the foundation stone is being laid by the Hon’ble the Chief Justice will have 8 Court Halls and 8 Chamber for the Judges. Some of the Court Halls located in the Varandahs and in the Office rooms will be restored to their original position. The institution of cases had risen from 20,078 in 1958 to 82,123 including miscellaneous cases in 1985. Now the pendency of cases in High Court as on 24-7-1987 are 84,855 (ie., 66,276 main cases + 18,579 miscellaneous cases). The Government of India is contemplating to rise the strength of the Judges of this High Court to 36 and in such case, more funds have to be released for the construction of Annexe buildings. After the completion of this building, the main building and Annexes buildings can locate 24 Court Halls and 26 Chambers.

The fundamental law relating to the High Courts is now contained in Chapter-V of Part-VI of the Constitution. By virtue of the provisions of the Andhra State Act and the States Reorganisation Act the High Court of Andhra Pradesh continues to exercise all the powers vested in the High Court of Judicature at Madras under the Constitution and the laws in force immediately before the Constitution. The High Court is a Court of Record and has all the powers of such a Court. A court of Record is a Court, the records of the proceedings of which arc accepted without question and which has power to punish for contempt. Under the Letters Patent granted by Queen Victoria, the High Court of Madras had original. Appellate and Revisional Jurisdiction in Civil and Criminal matters. Admirality, Vice-Admirality. Testamentary and Intestate. Matrimonial and Insolvency jurisdiction and jurisdiction as to Infants and Lunatics. While the High Court of Andhra Pradesh does not exercise Ordinary Original Jurisdiction the Madras High Court did under Clause 11 or clause 22 of the Letters Patent it has extraordinary Original Jurisdiction to withdraw cases under Letters Patent and under the Civil and Criminal Procedure Codes (Articles 13 and 24 of the Letters Patent Section 24 Civil Procedure Code and Section 407 Criminal Procedure Code), and also cases involving interpretation of the Constitution (Article 228 of the Constitution). Under Article 226 of the Constitution, the High Court has special Original Jurisdiction to issue directions, orders or writs to enforce Fundamental Rights or for any other purpose. The High Court also exercises original jurisdiction under the Companies Act and following the recent amendment of the Representation of People’s Act. it also decides Election Disputes.

Under the Andhra Pradesh Civil Courts Act the High Court hears First Appeals from the decisions of the District Courts and in some cases from decisions of Sub-Courts. Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides for a Second Appeal from Appellate decrees and orders of Subordinate Courts on questions of law while under Section 115 of the Code, the High Court is conferred wish revisional jurisdiction. Similar revisional jurisdiction is conferred on the High Court under other provisions like Section 25 of the Provincial Small Causes Act. Section 12 of the Hyderabad Small Causes Act, Section 22 of the Andhra Pradesh Buildings (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act Section 19 of the Andhra Pradesh Ceilings on Agricultural Holdings Act and under some other Special Acts. Under Article 227 of the Constitution also, the High Court in the exercise of.its powers of superintendence entertains revision petitions to correct errors on the part of lower Courts and Tribunals in Judicial & Quasi Judicial matters. The High Court also has got appellate jurisdiction under the Provincial Insolvency Act.

On the Criminal side, the High Court has to confirm all sentences of death passed by Courts of Sessions and entertains Referred Trials in this behalf. In the exercise of Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction, the High Court hears Criminal Appeals from convictions awarded by Sessions Judges and Additional Sessions Judges or from the judgment of any other Court, whether a sentence for more than seven years imprisonment has been passed (S.374(2) Code of Criminal Procedure). The High Court is also empowered to entertain appeals from orders of acquittal passed by any Court (Section 378 Code of Criminal Procedure). Under Section 397 and 401 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the High Court has also been conferred with Criminal Revisional Jurisdiction.

Apart from the Ordinary Original, Appellate and Revisional Jurisdiction and Extraordinary Jurisdiction conferred under the Constitution on the High Court, a number of cases are referred to the High Court by Lower Courts under Section 113 of Code of Civil Procedure and Section 395 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, for clarifying questions of law involving the validity of Acts. Rules, Ordinances and Regulations. Such references are also made under several other enactments like the Income Tax Act, the Stamp Act etc. The High Court also entertains appeals in Sales Tax matters against decisions of the Sales Tax Appellate Tribunals.

Under the Indian Bar Councils Act, the High Court had the power to enroll Advocates, but after the repeal of this Act and the passing of the Advocates’ Act of 1961, this power is being exercised by the Bar Council now. Under the Advocates’ Act however, the High Court can frame rules laying down the conditions subject to which Advocates may practice in Courts and to designate Advocates as Senior Advocates depending on their standing at the Bar, merit and ability. Under the Legal Practitioners’ Act, however, the High Court continues to exercise disciplinary control over all Pleaders and the power to renew their Sanads.

The proceedings in the High Court are conducted in the English language (Article 348 of the Constitution). The records are translated and printed or typed in English except in Second Appeals, Revisions etc. (Rules 72 and 95 of the High Court Appellate Side Rules) under the Constitution, the Letter Patent, C.P.C., Cr.P.C. and other Special and Local Laws, the High Court has authority to make rules prescribing its own procedure and the procedure and practice of the Subordinate Courts. The Hon’ble the Chief Justice constitutes a Rule Committee to advise the High Court in framing Rules. All rules except rules framed for the Original Side require the approval of the Governor.

The procedure of the High Court is mainly regulated by Civil and Criminal Procedure Codes. – Civil and Criminal Rules of Practice, the High Court Original Side Rules and Appellate Side Rules and other rules framed under Special and Local Laws.

Under these rules, all cases must be presented by the party-in person or by his Advocates, the only exception being a jail-appeal i.e.. where an accused is in jail his appeal against his conviction by the Lower Court can be sent by post through the Superintendent of Jail. On the presentation of a case it will be examined by the office to ensure that all papers are in order, that the case is maintainable, that the proper court fee is affixed and other such requirements are fulfilled. Thereafter, all cases have to be posted before Court for admission except First Appeals which will automatically be admitted by the Registrar if the papers are in order. Cases posted before Court may be admitted or rejected even at the admission stage. Once the case is admitted, notice will be issued to the respondent records called, the documents which the parties seek to rely on will be printed and thereafter the case posted for final disposal. The Advocates know when their cases are likely to come up, as the cases ready for hearing are first put on the Notice Board, and, thereafter only, included in a daily printed list for final disposal. Appeals from decrees where the amount or value exceeds Rs.20.000/- and judgments in which a sentence of death or life imprisonment has been passed are posted before a Bench of two Judges. Other matters are posted before a Single Judge. A Single Judge may direct that any matter posted before him be posted before a Division Bench while a Division bench may similarly direct any matter to be posted before a Full Bench (of 3 or more Judges). The Hon’ble the Chief Justice arranges the Benches. After the hearing of the case, the Judgment of the High Court will be certified and transmitted to the lower Court or Tribunal concerned for execution in accordance with the directions contained in the Judgment.

The Registrar General is the Chief Administrative Officer of the High Court and he is assisted by 5 Registrars, 2 Joint Registrars, 5 Deputy Registrars and 22 Assistant Registrars. The Office of the High Court is mainly divided into two branches, the Judicial and the Administrative Departments. The Administrative Department may well be described as the Secretariat of the Judiciary. It deals with appointments to the High Court service, posting and transfer of all Judicial Officers and their conditions of service, review of the Judicial work of the Subordinate Judicial Officers, inspections of Subordinate Courts, framing of rules where the High Court is the rule making authority, circulation of Bills and Acts referred to the High Court for opinion, appeals and memorials from the staff of the Subordinate Courts, all matters pertaining to Pleaders and Advocates and sending proposals to Government for the Budget for the High Court and the Subordinate Courts. There is also an Accounts Section attached to the Administrative Department which deals with all matters relating to the members of the High Court Service such as appointment, salary and service conditions and maintenance of accounts of moneys belonging to the litigants. The other branch of the High Court viz., the Judicial Department deals with the examination of Appeals, petitions and all other cases, service of notices on respondents, calling for records, preparation of the cases and records in print posting of cases, drafting of decrees and recording of cases.

Under Article 227 of Constitution, the High Court exercises powers of superintendence over all Courts and Tribunals in the State. While the High Court exercises both Judicial and Administrative control over all courts, in regard to Tribunals the High Court is exercising only Judicial control. Where the Tribunals like the Industrial Tribunal. Labour Court and Tribunal for Disciplinary Proceedings are presided over by Judicial Officers, their work is reviewed by the High Court. In the exercise of superintendence and control, the High Court frames rules and issues circulars for the guidance of the lower Courts, it calls for returns periodically – every year and reviews the judicial work of all Officers, it conducts inspections of District Court once in every two or three years and reviews the notes of inspection prepared by the District Judges of Courts subordinate to them. The Judges of the High Court also record their opinions on the quality of work of Subordinate Officers when hearing appeals. District Judges also record opinions as to the quality of judicial work of officers subordinate to them when hearing appeals. Thus the High Court of Andhra Pradesh and District Courts exercise all the modes of control described by the Law Commission of India in its 14th Report (Chapter X, para 6). viz: (i) submission and scrutiny of periodical returns: (in inspections; (iii) appraisal of the quality of work of subordinate Courts at the time of hearing appeals and revisions.

The Hon’ble the Chief Justice distributes the administrative business of the High Court among the various Judges. Postings and Transfer of Officers, sanction of Additional Officers, sanction of Additional Courts and staff, service matters relating to the judiciary and all budget matters are circulated to the Judges for orders. All important matters of policy are placed before a Judges’ Meeting.

The State of Andhra Pradesh was formed by the merger of the Andhra area of the Madras Presidency – Governed by the British and the Telangana area of the former Indian State of Hyderabad ruled over by the Nizam of the Hyderabad. It, therefore, followed that the existing Judicial Institutions trace their origin to two different systems.

1. THE ANDHRA AREA:

The History of the Judiciary in Madras and Andhra commences with the setting up of the Fort St.George in Madras in 1639 by the East India Company. From 1639 to 1666, no regular court or judicial system functioned under the Company Rule. From 1666 to 1686 a regular Court consisting of the Governor and Council sat and administered Civil and Criminal Justice to all the inhabitants. Between 1686 and 1726, two regular courts functioned at Madras, a Mayor’s court made up of the Mayor (always an Englishman) and two our of twelve Aldermen constituting the Corporation of Madras and an Admirality Court mainly to determine all mercantile and maritime cases. These courts were followd by freshly constituted Mayor’s Courts established under Charters issued by the British Crown in 1726 and 1753, three Courts were set up, a Court of Requests to try cases upto 5 pagodas (Rs.15/-), a Mayor’s Court to try civil cases of value over 5 pagodas – in the case of Indians (Natives as the British used to call us) their consent to the Jurisdiction of the court was necessary – and a court of President decisions of Mayor’s Courts. Thereafter, in 1793, under an Act of Parliament a Recorders Court was set up consisting of the Mayor, three Alderman and a Recorder viz., a lawyer of not less than five years standing to supersede the courts established under the Royal Charter of 1753. This Court exercised Civil, Criminal, Ecclesiastical and Admirality jurisdiction. The Recorder’s Court was superseded by a Supreme Court established under the Letters Patent issued by George III in 1801. Thus, initially, the jurisdiction of the Mayor’s Courts and other Courts, except Court of Requests, merged into the jurisdiction of the Recorder’s Court and, thereafter, the Recorder’s Court was merged into the Supreme Court of Judicature. By 1823, Supreme Courts had been established on almost identical lines at Madras, Bombay and Calcutta. The Law administered by these Supreme Courts was the Common Law and statute law as its prevailed in England prior to 1726, the Law as obtained in Admirality and Ecclesiastical Courts in England, the Regulations made by the Governor-General-in-Council and the Hindu and Mohammedan Customary laws.

While this was the position in the Presidency town of Madras, so far as the Mofussil was concerned, before the year 1802 there were no Company Courts, Civil and Criminal justice had in many parts of the province continued much as it has been under the native rulers – there being a concentration of authority in the hands of the Collector of the District who took the place and exercised the same wide powers as the Amildar of the old regime (William Marley’s Digest quoted by Viscount Simon, Lord Chancellor in AIR 1943 Privy Council – 1164 Ryots of Garbandho v. Raja of Parlakimedi). The Adalat system, first introduced in Bengal by Lord Cornwallis, was extended to Madras under the Regulation of 1802. Under the system, Civil Justice was rendered by Zilla Courts or District Courts, Provincial Courts of Appeal to hear appeals from District Courts and the Sadar Diwani Adalat (viz., the Governor and members of the Council) to hear appeals from the Provincial Courts of Appeal. By 1843, the provincial Courts were abolished. Thereafter, in 1873, the Madras Civil Courts Act was passed providing for three categories of Judges viz., the District Munsiffs, the Sub-Judges and the District Judges – as exist now. This Act in substance continues to hold the field in the Andhra Area of the State except for some minor modifications when it wassubstitutedby the Andhra Pradesh Civil Courts Act of 1973 and this was again amended by A.P.Civil Courts Act of 2000 (Act 28/2000).

On the Criminal side also, the Bengal pattern was extended to Madras in 1802, Magistrates and Assistant Magistrates were appointed, besides four circuit courts and the Chief Criminal Courts or Fouzdari Adalat consisting of the Governor and Council. The system so established was frequently altered, amended and re-adjusted and at length over a hundred of these Regulations and Acts were codified into one Code of Criminal Procedure. The ultimate enactment is the Code of Criminal Procedure Act VIII of 1869, wherein all the earlier codes were consolidated and the various categories of criminal courts as now exist viz., the Court of Sessions Judges, Assistant Sessions Judges, and 1st, 2nd and 3rd Class Magistrates were duly established. The Code of Criminal Procedure of 1898 was revised and re-enacted in 1973 and substituted by the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 (Act 2 of 1974).

Thus, with the introduction of the Madras Civil Courts Act and the Code of Criminal Procedure in the Moffusil area, the various Civil and Criminal Courts, as now exist came to be established. In the City of Madras, the next land mark. After the setting up of the Supreme Court in 1923 the High Courts Act of 1861 was passed, whereunder the High Court of Judicature was set up at Madras with original jurisdiction over the Presidency town of Madras and with appellate Jurisdiction over all other Courts in the Presidency. Under Section 15 of the Act, the High Court was given powers of superintendence over all courts and this power was reiterated in the Government of India Acts of 1915 and 1935 and ultimately, in the Constitution. Thus, the British had set up an integrated judicial system and organization which continues to exist without much change till today. The only draw back was the continuing of the powers of the Magistracy on the executive Revenue Officers, on the Criminal side. The British, for reasons of their own, never sought to implement the principles of their own, never sought to implement the principles of the separation of the judiciary from the Executive and it was left to the Government of Madras after the grant of Independence to make a start in this direction in 1949. The separation of Judiciary from the Executive was introduced to the whole of the Andhra area by 1958.

2. TELANGANA AREA:

The origin of the Courts in the Telangana can be traced to the Islamic System of administration of Justice introduced by the Moghuls. Khaziz disposed of Civil and Criminal cases in the districts while in Hyderabad City and Subha Headquarters a Bada Khazi disposed of cases. Petty Criminal Cases were dealt with by the Police. Important Civil and Criminal cases were heard and disposed of by the Ruler or the Naib Sultan or Subedar. After 1858, a Civil Court (Adalat Diwani) and a Criminal Court (Adalat Fouzadari) were set up in the city of Hyderabad. There were also two superior Courts viz., a King’s Court (Badashahi Adalat) to try important Criminal cases and an Appellate Court (Mohmooma Murafa). Other Courts functioning in the City were those of Naibs Sultanat, the Subedar of Hyderabad and the Commissioner of Police. In the Mofussil, the Subedars, the Collectors, the Amaldars, the I and II Talukdars and the Tahsildars were invested with Civil and Criminal powers. In about 1875, regular Civil Courts were established and the Revenue Officers were divested of Civil powers. The Scheme of separation of the Judiciary from the Executive was introduced as early as 1922 long before the scheme was ever contemplated in British India and with this scheme the Revenue Officers were deprived of their magisterial powers.

There were also separate Courts for Muslims (Darul-Quaza Court), for Hindus (Govindrao Court), for Chirstian (Adalat Beroon Bolds) and Arabs (Makums Qaza-wte-Arab). A separate Court was established in the residency in 1864 for Europeans. There were special Magistrates’ Courts for Districts dealing with thugs and dacoits. There were also Special Magistrate for Customs, Excise and Postal Cases.

The High Court of Hyderabad was established in 1872 with the Civil and Criminal Jurisdiction of the Adalat Buzrug and Padshahi Adalat Fouzdari. In 1885, a Regulation was passed to enlarge its powers. In 1336 a Royal Charter was issued and an Act was passed in 1337 F. under which, the High Court had both Judicial and Administrative powers, the former consisting in hearing Appeals, entertaining Revisions, answering References and trying cases transferred to itself, and the latter in deposing of, or expressing opinions of administrative matters concerning the Courts. Under Section 11 of the Act, the decisions of the High Court were to be final with the exception of cases in which a sentence of death or imprisonment for life were passed or in which the decision was modified or reversed by the Nizam. Originally, the Nizam was exercising his Royal Prerogative over the Full Bench decision of the High Court, but later the law minister was disposing of Appeals. In 1323 F(1914) a Judicial Committee was constituted with three or five Judges, including a Legal Advisor and atleast two Judges of the High Court who did not participate in the decision under appeal.

The Hyderabad Civil Courts Act, 1324 F.first cofified the law relating to the Subordinate Courts. Under that Act, the State was divided into 4 Subahs and a Sadar Adalat was constituted for each of them. A Nizamat-e-Adalat Diwani was cnstituted for each District and a Munsiff’s Court for one or more Taluks. Where there was no Munsiff’s Court, – Tahsildars were conferred with Civil Powers upto Rs.100/- which could be raised to Rs.300/- Provision was made for the appointment of Honorary Judicial Officers with jurisdiction upto Rs.300/-. The Nizam Darwi Quaza Court continued to exercise all the powers of a Sadar Adalat to decide cases of Mohammedans in matters like pre-emption, marriage, meher, Dower etc., Jagirdars were constituted as Courts within their Jagirs. In 1355 F. a Sadar Adalat, a District Court and a Munsiff Court were constituted for the renditioned area. The above act was repealed and re-enacted by the Hyderabad Civil Courts Act, 1954 which is still in force in Telangana area. It provided for the establishment of a District Court and Sut-Court for each District or for one or more Districts and a Court of Munsiff for each Taluk or Taluks. Appeals from the decisions of the District Judge lay to the High Court and those from the decisions of the Munsiffs lay to the District Judge. Appeals from the decision of the Sub-Judges lay to the District Judge where the value of suit did not exceed Rs.5,000/- and to the High Court in other cases.

The Hyderabad Criminal Procedure Code was passed in1313F, the following classes of Criminal Courts were constituted (1) Courts of Sessions; (2) District magistrate; (3) Magistrate of the First Class; (4) Magistrates of the Second Class; and (5) Magistrates of the Third Class. There was also a provision for the appointment of Sub-Divisional Magistrates and for the appointment of Government servants as Special Magistrates for particular cases or classes of cases. The Act also provided for conferring the powers of a sessions Judge, District Magistrate or any Magistrate on a Jagirdar within his Jagir and whose annual income exceeded Rs.25,000/- etc., Sessions Judges could pass any lawful sentence but sentences of imprisonment over 10 years required confirmation by the High Court. Sentences of life imprisonment required confirmation by the Government, and sentences of death by the Nizam. An Assistant Sessions Judge could pass a sentence of imprisonment upto 7 years, but all cases where the sentence awarded exceeded 4 years required confirmation by the Sessions Court. The powers of other Courts were as follows :

IMPRISONMENT FINE

I Class Magistrate 2 years 2,000/- 20 Stripes

II Class Magistrate 6 Months 500/- 15 Stripes

III Class Magistrate 1 Months 100/- —

Appeals from the decisions of Assistant Sessions Judges, District Magistrates and I Class Magistrates and Revenue Officers exercising Magisterial powers with the exception of the Tahsildars lay to the Sessions Court. Appeals from the decision of Magistrates exercising less than II Class powers lay to the District Magistrate. Appeals from the Sessions Judge, the Chief City Magistrate and the Assistant Sessions Judge in cases where the sentence exceeded 4 years lay to the High Court. So also appeals against orders of acquittal. The High Court under the Hyderabad Code of Criminal Procedure had also the powers of revision as under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

II. THE PRESENT ORGANISATION AND FUNCTIONS OF THE JUDICIARY

The Andhra area of the composite State of Madras was carved out and constituted into the State of Andhra in 1954. Thereafter, in 1956, consequent on the passing of the State Re-organisation Act, the State of Andhra Pradesh comprising of 11 Districts of the Andhra State and the 9 District of Telangana area of the State of Hyderabad was established. Subsequently Prakasam District was formed on 2.2.1970 carved out of Kurnool, Guntur and Nellore. Vizianagaram District was formed on 1.6.1979 by taking some areas from Srikakulam and Visakhapatna. Rangareddy District was formed on 15.8.1978 by carving out some portions of Hyderabad (Urban) Taluk and the mergerj of the rural and urban areas of the remaining Taluks of Hyderabad District. The High Court of Andhra which was established in 1954 at Guntur under the Andhra State Act had all the powers hitherto being exercised by the High Court of Madras in respect of the territories included in the State of Andhra. In 1956 with the establishment of one High Court of Andhra Pradesh the jurisdiction of the High Court of Andhra was extended to the whole of the Telangana area of the erstwhile Hyderabad State and the High Court of Hyderabad was abolished. The High Court at the Apex of the Judiciary exercises superintendence and control over all the subordinate Courts functioning in the City and in Mofussil. In discussing the functions and organization of the Judiciary, it would be convenient to take up the Courts in the following order viz., the High Court, the Courts in the City (Civil and Criminal), the Civil Courts in the Districts and the Criminal Courts in the Districts.

COURTS IN CITY OF HYDERABAD

The Courts in the City of Hyderabad were re-organised with effect from 1-4-1958 on the lines of the set up obtaining in the City of Madras. Prior to 1-4-1958, there were separate District and Sessions Courts for Hyderabad and Secunderabad, desides a City Civil Court. The District Court at Secunderabad consisted of one District Judge, one Sub-Judge and two Munsif Magistrates. The District and Sessions Court, Hyderabad consisted of one District Judge, one Sub-Judge-cum-District Magistrate besides one Munsif Magistrate each for the Taluks of Hyderabad East, Hyderabad West, Pargi, Vikarabad, Ibrahimpatnam and Tandur constituting Hyderabad Districts. The City Civil Court consisted of two Chief Judges in the grade of a District Judge and two Munsif Magistrates with jurisdiction upto Rs.5,000/-. Besides these courts, there were in the City of Hyderabad, seven City Magistrates under the control of a Chief City Magistrate in the grade of a Sub-Judge and a City Small Causes Court consisting of a District and a Sub-Judge. Consequent on the re-organisation of Courts, the Courts of District and Sessions Judge, Hyderabad and Secunderabad were abolished and both Secunderabad and Hyderabad combined into one Unit and brought under the City Civil Court. Similarly the jurisdictions of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (now a District Judge) and twelve Metropolitan Magistrates and that of the Small Causes Court were extended to Secunderabad area also.

CITY CIVIL COURT

Under the reorganized set up of the City Civil Court in 1958, the strength of the City Civil Court is: (i) Two Chief Judges in the grade of District Judges; (ii) Four Additional Judges in the grade of Sub-Judges; (iii) Three Assistant Judges in the grade of Munsifs. In addition one temporary post of a third Chief Judge has been sanctioned and is being renewed year after year by Government. The Chief Judges have unlimited pecuniary jurisdiction, the additional Judges have jurisdiction to try suits upto Rs.50,000/- and the Assistant Judges’ jurisdiction to try suits upto Rs.5,000/-. The Principal Chief Judge and other Additional and Assistant Judges sit at Hyderabad while one Additional Judge and one Assistant Judge sit at Secunderabad. The High Court reviews the work of the three Chief Judges.

The work of the Additional Judges and Assistant Judges are reviewed first by the Chief Judge at Hyderabad and then by the High Court. The Munsif Magistrates of the taluks of Hyderabad-East, West, Pargi, Vikarabad, Tandur and Ibrahimpatnam are under the administrative control of the Chief Judge, City Civil Court. Thus the duties of the Chief Judge, City Civil Court and of District and Sessions judge of the Hyderabad District have been combined in the Chief Judge and Principal Sessions Judge at Secunderabad. The set up in the City was initially based on administrative orders issued by Government. The State Law Commission has suggested putting the scheme ion a statutory basis and has also suggested draft consolidated Andhra Pradesh Civil Courts Act to supersede the Madras Civil Courts Act of 1873. Consequently in 1972, the Andhra Pradesh Civil Courts Act (Act 19 of 1972) was passed to consolidate and amend the law relating to the Civil Courts subordinate to the High Court both in the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana areas of the State.

THE CITY SMALL CAUSES COURT

The City Small Causes Court had been established under the Hyderabad Small Causes Courts Act VI of 1330 F with effect from 1-4-1958 the jurisdiction of the Court was extended to Secunderabad area. The Court consists of two officers, a Chief Judge in the grade of a District Judge who has jurisdiction to try cases upto Rs.2,000/- and one Additional Judge in the grade of Sub-judge with jurisdiction to try cases upto Rs.300/-. The Additional Judge has been empowered to entertain and decide petitions under the Provincial Insolvency Act and the Chief Judge to hear appeals from those orders. Appeals also lie to the Chief Judge of the Small Causes Court from orders passed by three Rent Controllers (Munsiffs) appointed under the Andhra Pradesh Buildings (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act…

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