Death penalty by trial courts overruled by high courts leading to acquittal in most cases.


Author: Ms. Chhaya Lalwani

LL.B.(H)Batch2016-19, Law College Dhanbad


The present judicial system of India is being made effective through the Constitution of India. The judicial system of India is mainly consisting of three types of courts- the Supreme Court, The High Courts, and the subordinate courts or the trial courts. This system provides a livelihood to a huge number of professionals attached to the system of the judiciary in different forms and thus serves the nation with the service.

The hierarchical structure of court is being endorsed by the Constituency of India with the level of power exercised by the different levels of courts. The judgments can be challenged in the higher courts if the parties to the cases are not satisfied. The process of escalation is systematic and thus the system of providing the maximum level of satisfaction to the parties is sincerely tried by the judiciary system.

The Supreme Court of India is placed at the top of the hierarchical position followed by High Courts in the regional level and lower courts at the micro level with the assignment of power and exercising of the same for the people of India

  • Supreme Court of India

Supreme Court of India is the highest level of court of Indian juridical system which was established as per Part V, Chapter IV of the Constitution of India which endorses the concept of Supreme Court as the Federal Court to play the role of the guardian of the esteemed constitution of India with the status of the highest level of court in the status of appeal. As conferred by Articles 124 to 147 of Indian Constituency, the jurisdiction, and composition of the Supreme Court are being fixed. This court is primarily of the status of the appellate court. This court is accepting the appeals of cases that are being heard in the High courts situated in different states and union territories with the dissatisfaction of related parties. This court also accepts writ petitions with the suspected occurrence of activities which may infer about the violation of human rights and subsequent petitions are accepted to hear and judge the consequences of such happenings.

  • High Court of India

High Courts are second Courts of Importance of the democracy of India. They are run by Article 141 of the Constitution of India. They are governed by the bindings conferred by the Supreme Court of India so far judgments and orders are concerned. The Supreme Court of India is the highest level of courts and is responsible for fixing the guidance to the High Courts set by precedence.

High courts are the types of courts that are instituted as the courts powered by the constitution with the effect of Article 214 Part IV Chapter V of the Indian Constitution. There are 24 high courts in India taking care of the regional juridical system of India out of which Kolkata High Court is the oldest.

These courts are mainly confined to the jurisdiction of the state, group of states or Union Territory. They are being empowered to govern the jurisdiction of lower courts like family, civil and criminal courts with other different courts of the districts.  These courts are of the statute of principal civil courts so far originality of jurisdiction is concerned in the related domain of the states and the other district courts. These courts are treated as subordinate to High Courts by status. But High Courts are mainly exercising their jurisdiction related to the civil or criminal domain if the lower courts are proved incapable of exercising their power as per authorization extended by law.  These situations may be generated through the inability of financial or territorial jurisdiction. There are specific areas in which only High Courts can exercise the right hearing like cases related to Company Law as it is designated especially in a state or federal law.

But normally the high courts are involved in the appeals raised in the cases of lower courts with the writ petitions as conferred in Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

  • Lower Courts of India /Trial courts

The basis of the structuring of district courts in India is mainly depending upon the discretion of the state governments or the union territories. The structure of those courts is mainly made considering several factors like the number of cases, distribution of population, etc. Depending upon those factors the state government takes the decision of numbers of District Courts to be in operation for the single district or clubbing together different adjacent districts.

These courts are covered by the administrative power of the High Courts under which the district courts are covered. The judgments of the district courts are subject to review to the appellate jurisdiction of the respective high court

The district courts are mainly run by the state government appointed district judges. There are additional district judges and assistant district judges who are there to share the additional load of the proceedings of District Courts. These additional district judges have equal power like the district judges for the jurisdiction area of any city which has got the status of the metropolitan area as conferred by the state government. These district courts have the additional jurisdictional authority of appeal handling over the subordinate courts which are there in the same district specifically in the domain of civil and criminal affairs.



The present article is to research on the powers of the trial court and high court and comment on how the death sentence granted by the lower court are resulting in acquittal of the accused. We all are aware of the fact of criminal jurisprudence that accused is innocent till the charges are proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The is the golden rule on which the criminal jurisprudence is intact.  Many a time it has been observed that where capital punishments are granted to the victims by the lower courts are been reversed by the higher courts. The question of the hour is that are the high courts really doing justice by granting them acquittal. Well, the answer to the question would really depend on the fact and circumstances of the cases. But another side should also not be overlooked that is to say  the lower court is also presided by a competent authority well versed with law and all the fact collection process and submission of documents , recording of evidence are completed and after adhering to the various rules followed during the trial session be it a civil or criminal trial the judges come to the conclusion . Wheres in the high courts the question is only relating to the question of fact. Then how can a judgment be completing turned around taking the other way? The competency of such trial courts is also in danger. For the better understanding above the matter hierarchy of the courts and its powers are discussed above. The fact has to be understood by us that if this goes on i.e reversing of decisions by higher courts the trust in the indian judicial system will surely be affected. In that case, every criminal would think of directly urging to the high court as there are instances where criminal got acquitted in higher courts like the famous Salman Khan’s case. The criminals instead of having fear of committing crimes again will get freedom and liberty to commit the crime once again. Is this the nation we wanted to have ?? The question is to all the citizens of India whether they want a clean judicial system,??Judiciary is considered to be the sole of justice. But if such continues criminals would increase and eventually it would increase the danger for the society.


Citizens expect court decisions to be implemented in an effective and fair manner. The judicial system needs to be amended so that the innocent who falls prey of such brutal judgments of reversal of capital system are saved. AS