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District Court is the principal court of civil jurisdiction. District Courts of India are established by the State governments in India for every district or for one or more districts together taking into account the number of cases, population distribution in the district.
The District Courts of India are under the administrative and judicial control of the High Court of the State to which the district concerned belongs. District Courts administer justice at a district level. The decisions of District court are subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the High court.
The highest court in each district is the District and Sessions Court. Each state is divided into judicial districts presided over by a 'District and Sessions Judge'. A District Judge presides over a civil case, and a Sessions Judge presides over a criminal case. He is the highest judicial authority below a High Court judge. Below him, there are courts of civil jurisdiction, known by different names in different states.
The district court is presided over by one District Judge appointed by the state Government. In addition to the district judge there may be number of Additional District Judges and Assistant District Judges depending on the workload. The Additional District Judge and the court presided have equivalent jurisdiction as the District Judge and his district court. However, the district judge has supervisory control over Additional and Assistant District Judges, including decisions on allocation of work among them. The district judge is also called "Metropolitan session judge" when he is presiding over a district court in a city which is the designated "Metropolitan area" by the state Government. There are many other courts subordinate to the court of District and Sessions Judge. The district court has appellate jurisdiction over all subordinate courts situated in the district on both civil and criminal matters.
District Court is also referred as Session's Court when it exercises its jurisdiction on criminal matters under Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc). As per section 9 of CrPc, the Sessions court is established by the State Government for every sessions division. This court is presided over by a Judge, appointed by the High Court of that particular state. The High Court may also appoint Additional Sessions Judges and Assistant Sessions Judges to exercise jurisdiction in the Court of Session. An Assistant Sessions judge is a subordinate to the Sessions Judge. This court hears the cases relating to murder, theft, dacoit, pick pocketing and other such cases. Originally, the Sessions Courts heard each case continuously in sessions and delivered judgments immediately on completion of arguments. It has the power to impose any sentence including capital punishment.
District Munsiff Court
Munsiff court is the lowest court of jurisdiction in India for handling the civil cases. An appeal from the decisions of the Munsiff court can be taken to the court of the sub-Judge or the Additional Sub-Judge, which are one rank superior to the District Munsiff Courts but are inferior to the District court. Usually the Munsiff court is controlled by the District Court of the respective district. The District Munsif Court is allowed only to try matters pertaining to certain pecuniary limits notified by the State Government. The State Government's Gazette notification also prescribes the territorial jurisdiction of the District Munsiff Court. Usually, a District Munsiff Court will have four to seven firkas (sub divisions) over which they can decide the disputes. A District Munsiff is the judge and presiding officer of the District Munsiff Court.