GIST of India Year Book 2024

Chapter-5 : Law and Justice

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

Indian Legal System and Reforms


  • Ministry of Law and Justice:Established in 1833, oversees legal affairs, legislation, and justice administration.
    • Departments: Legal Affairs, Legislative, Justice.
  • Legal Sources:Constitution, statutes, customary law, and case law.
  • Judiciary:
    • Supreme Court (highest court): Original, appellate, and advisory jurisdiction.
    • High Courts (one per state): Oversee judicial administration in states.
    • National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms (2011): Improves access to justice and accountability.

Initiatives for Judicial Improvement

  • Infrastructure Development:Central scheme for court buildings and residences.
  • Gram Nyayalayas Act:Provides doorstep justice in rural areas.
  • Commercial Courts Act (2015):Expedites resolution of commercial disputes.
  • eCourts Project:Enhances judiciary functioning through digital tools (Phase III with advanced technologies in 2023).
  • Access to Justice:
    • DISHA scheme: Technology-based citizen-centric legal solutions.
    • Tele-Law and Nyaya Bandhu programs provide legal assistance.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR):
    • Lok Adalats and mediation for faster dispute resolution.
    • Reduces litigation burden.
  • Fast Track Courts (FTCs):Expedited trials for heinous crimes and civil disputes.

Legal Affairs Department

  • Handles legal matters, litigation, and administers various Acts.
  • LIMBS system monitors court cases involving the Union of India.

Law Enforcement Agencies

  • Maintain public order and border security.

Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs):

  • National Security Guard (NSG):Specialized anti-terror force.
  • Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF):Handles riots, internal conflicts, and peacekeeping missions.
  • Rapid Action Force (RAF):Responds to riots and similar situations.
  • Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA):Combats Maoist insurgency.
  • Central Industrial Security Force (CISF):Secures critical infrastructure and provides fire protection services.
  • Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB):Guards Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders.

Civil Defence and Fire Services

  • Civil Defence:Protects lives and minimizes damage during emergencies (voluntary participation).
  • Home Guard:Assists police in maintaining internal security and disaster management.
  • Fire Services:Organized at the state level with central government support.

Indian Legal System: Personal Laws, Maintenance, Succession & Reforms

  • Personal Laws:Govern marriage, divorce, adoption based on religion (recent amendments promote gender equality).

Maintenance Obligations

  • Spouse’s maintenance obligation arises from marriage.
  • Extends to wife, children, parents, divorced women (Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973).
  • Hindu & Muslim Law consider factors like husband’s income and wife’s reason for separation.
  • Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 safeguards divorced Muslim women’s rights.
  • Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act (1936) & Divorce Act (1869) address maintenance for Parsis & Christians respectively.

Succession Laws

  • Indian Succession Act (1925):Governs intestate and testamentary succession (amended for different religions).
  • Hindu Succession Act (1956):Ensures equal inheritance rights for women and abolishes female life estates.
  • Muslim Law:Restricts testation rights, allowing bequests up to 1/3rd of the estate.

Recent Legal Reforms (with Acts & Dates)

  • Anand Marriage (Amendment) Act, 2012:Allows registration of Anand Karaj marriages.

Election Laws and Reforms

  • Representation of the People Act, 1951:Governs elections (recent amendments).
  • Increased candidate expenditure limits & Aadhaar linking for electoral roll.
  • Aims for voter inclusivity and streamlined processes.
    • Conduct of Elections (Amendment) Rules, 2023: Voters on election duty & updated definitions.
    • Registration of Electors (Amendment) Rules, 2022: More qualifying dates for voter list inclusion.

Delimitation of Constituencies

  • Periodic readjustment of Lok Sabha & assembly constituencies (Articles 82 & 170 of the Constitution).
  • Delimitation Commissions (latest in 2020), current freeze extended to 2026.

Ensuring Fair Elections

  • EVMs (since 1982) & VVPATs (since 2013):Electronic Voting Machines and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail.
  • Electors’ Photo Identity Cards (EPICs):To prevent bogus voting (ongoing issuance to all eligible voters).

Voting Rights for Overseas Indians

  • Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2010 & Registration of Electors (Amendment) Rules, 2011:Enable registration.

Women & Caste Reservations

  • 106th Constitutional Amendment Act:Reserves 1/3rd of seats in Parliament & state legislatures for women (sub-reservation for SCs, STs & Anglo-Indians).
  • Reservation for Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes:

 Provided by the Constitution (amended most recently in 2019).

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