Subordination of Courts Under Section 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908

Section 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 provides for the subordination of Courts and reads thus:

3. Subordination of Courts.

For the purposes of this Code, the District Court is subordinate to the High Court, and every Civil Court of a grade inferior to that of a District Court and every Court of Small Causes is subordinate to the High Court and District Court.


CASE NOTES

In Section 3 Civil Procedure Code, the hierarchy of Courts governed by the Code is mentioned. That section lays down what is to be the hierarchy of Courts for purposes of the Civil Procedure Code.

The provision is that the district Court is subordinate to the High Court and every Civil Court of a grade inferior to that of a district Court and every Court of Small Causes is subordinate to the High Court and the district Court.

The language of Section 3 of the Code lays emphasis on the hierarchy of Courts “for purposes of the Code of Civil Procedure”.

For purposes of the Code, only the district Court and the Civil Courts, which are subordinate to the district Court, are to be treated as Courts of civil judicature satisfying the provisions of Section 3 of the Code.

The expression ‘any Court subordinate to such High Court’ used in Section 115 Civil Procedure Code refers to the subordination mentioned in Section 3 of the Code.

The High Court can exercise its revisional powers only in cases which have been decided by some Court which is subordinate to the High Court in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Code.

In the alternative, of course, the High Court could have exercised similar powers of revision in case decided by any other Courts provided those Courts were specifically made subordinate to the High Court for purposes of the Civil Procedure Code.

The hierarchy of Courts (that of Munsif, Civil Judge. Judge, Small Causes, and District Judge) is not specified under the Civil Procedure Code.

All that Section 3 Civil Procedure Code provides is that for the purposes of the Code of Civil Procedure the District Court will be subordinate to the High Court, and every Civil Court of a grade interior to that of a District Court and every Court of Small Causes is Subordinate to the High Court and District Court.

The hierarchy of Civil Courts (that of Munsifs, Subordinate –now Civil Judges. (Additional Judges and District Judges) is only to be found in the Bengal, Agra and Assam, Civil Courts Act, 1887.

It is, therefore, clear that the Courts of Munsifs, Civil Judges, Judges. Small Causes, and District Judges, may not be the only Civil Courts for the purposes of Section 3 of the Civil Procedure Code.

The preamble to the Civil Procedure Code indicates that it is an Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the procedure of the Courts of Civil Judicature.

Sub-section (4) of Section 2 of the Civil Procedure Code defines a district Court as the principal Civil Court of original jurisdiction in a district.

A consideration of the aforesaid provisions makes it clear that Section 3 Civil Procedure Code must be interpreted as a comprehensive declaration as a matter of corollary of the subordination of all ‘Courts of Civil Judicature’ to the District Court in a district area and to the High Court in the area of the State.

See Also : Bal Gopal Das v. Mohan Singh, AIR 1964 All 504 [Allahabad High Court, 19 February, 1964]