Law is a set of legitimate rules, statutes, and precedents, which are applicable within a given jurisdiction. The fundamental aim of Law is to deliver justice. The magnitude of different offenses decides the level of punishment. Broadly, there are two categories of Law, namely, Civil Law and Criminal Law. Civil Law deals with cases where wrong is done against a particular individual. Criminal Law includes matters of offense against society at large.
The most common civil wrongs are Negligence and breach of contract, murder, rape, etc. The source of civil and criminal laws lies in the colonial era. Historically, French Dutch German Spanish and Portuguese colonies followed a Civil Law system. Civil Law is one of the codified sets of legal rules having its roots in Europe. The core principles are drafted into such rules as forming the primary source of Law.
Common-Law systems come from legal principles that are judge-made laws. These precedents have authority. The concept of civil justice has existed in India for ages. Manu compiled the justice system of India. His voluminous work entitled “Manava Dharma Shastra” contains the legal provision. However, the Vedas incorporate the concept of justice.
The essential features of the system are: -
1) Civil Laws are a codified set of legal rules.
2) The codified Law bears a binding for all. There is little scope for judge-made law in civil courts. Yet, looking into the practical aspect, the judges follow the precedents.
3) Writings of the Legal Scholars do have a substantial influence on the courts.
Branches of Civil Laws
Within civil society, disagreements between human beings and institutions are understandable. Civil laws are thus, formed to establish an impartial dispute resolving judicial machinery. Civil Laws have a vast scope. A few of them are well defined and codified, and the remaining are based upon the precedents. Some of the civil laws in India are:
The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, deals with the procedural part of the civil proceedings. The code has two divisions:
1) the first part contains 158 sections, and
2) the second part includes the First Schedule, which has 51 Orders and Rules.
The sections deal with the general principles relating to the jurisdiction of the matters and orders. They also include rules that provide in detail the procedures that govern civil proceedings in India. The main aim behind the act is to ensure speedy disposal of the cases.
Contract Law deals with an agreement entered between two or people. They can be individuals or companies, both having an obligation to fulfill it. For example, two parties sign a contract regarding the delivery of goods. If one party violates any of the contract provisions, it qualifies as a “breach of contract.” Contracts/Agreements may be either oral or written unless expressly stated as a requirement by any particular law to be put in writing.
It is concerned with personal injuries against private individuals. A tort can be against either a private individual or property. The property can be movable or immovable. The injured party receives monetary compensation. i. There can be either a case of intentional, unintentional tort or no-fault liability. The two essentials of torts are:
1- The existence of a legal right,
2- Its violation to which damages are awarded.
This category covers any property: personal or real, tangible, or intangible. Tangible property includes anything that can be seen or touched like animals, jewelry, etc. The intangible property comprises property such as intellectual property rights or stocks and bonds. As per Law, the land is not only defined as the surface in general. It also includes all the things attached to it.
For example: - A woman noticed that while planting flowers in her garden, her neighbor had five extra flower pots with her. But there was no place to put them in her garden. So, she decided to take additional containers without seeking permission from the neighbor. She wanted to put them in her yard as well. Therefore, she deprived her neighbor of her saplings and planted them in her yard. The woman’s action, in this case, would amount to conversion.
Family law is a branch of Civil Law that deals with marriage, divorce, annulment, child custody, adoption, birth, child support, and other issues relating to families. This branch of Civil Law is unique in the sense that there is not necessarily one person who commits a civil wrong. The involvement of family courts come into picture in cases relating to the division of property and other assets, establishing custody of a child, deciding maintenance in divorce cases, spousal support, etc.
Hierarchy of Civil Courts in India:
India follows a hierarchical system, giving different powers and authority to courts in India. The Supreme Court of India located in New Delhi is the apex court; the factors in determining the further hierarchy of the civil courts are jurisdiction, i.e., monetary and territorial. Pecuniary means depending upon the case value of suit and territorial refers to the area in which the particular offense was executed.
Supreme Court of India: The Supreme Court of India is the apex Court having an appellate jurisdiction for all civil matters. The judgments of the Supreme Court of India are considered as final. These are also binding on all the Indian courts.
High Courts: Next in the hierarchy are the High Courts, established state-wise, or common High Court for two or more states.
District Courts/ City Civil Courts: Then comes the District Courts generally having pecuniary jurisdiction of Rs 20 lakh but more than 3 lakh.
Lower Courts: The lowest in the hierarchy include Munsif’s Courts and Small Causes Court.
Further, there are courts established to deal with particular matters like Family Courts, Consumer Courts, and various tribunals. One of the oldest fields in Law is Civil Law, which provides a variety of career opportunities. From private clients to government officials, professionals deal with all within the dispute resolving mechanism. With the increase in awareness in the society, there is a substantial increase in career opportunities in the relevant area.