History of Saddar Court Complex, Srinagar


        During 1819-1846 , it was policy of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh not to change the existing Judicial System and tamper as little as possible with

the  existing laws and usages of his territories and during this period Qazi continued to be the head of State Judiciary. Sikh ruling came to a end

in 1846 and the State was the British to Maharaja Gulab Singh under the treaty of Lahore Dated 9' of March, 1846.

        Treaty of Lahore signed on 9`h of March, 1846 among other things  provided for the independent sovereignty of Raja Gulab Singh. On 16`h of March, 1846 under the treaty of Amritsar Maharaja Gulab Singh was recognized as Maharaja Butt had to conquer Kashmir after the treaty.

        After Gulab Singh took over as Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir State he in the first instance vested in himself the power to hear cases as well as in appeal against a " NAZRANA" of Rs 1/- presented with the petition, so it was Maharaja Gulab Singh who was the fountain head of justice at source of all authority in Jammu and Kashmir. Thereafter, Chief Courts at Srinagar and Jammu were established to hear cases in first instance and in appeal and these Chief Courts were being presided over by "ADWALATTES".

        In 1889 Government of India deprived Maharaja of all powers and  authority on the ground of corruption and Mal-administration which was

prevailing in the State and he was forced to handover the State Administration to a counsl which constituted of five members including a British Officer to be selected by the Government of India. The council was to have full and sole  powers in all public departments of the State including Revenue, Judicial, Foreign and Military for a period of five 'years. The Revenue and Judicial departments were in respective charge of the Revenue and Judicial members of the council. The judicial member of the counsel exercised the powers of " ADALAT-UL-ALIA" in Civil and Criminal matters. The Chief Judicial authority in the province was vested in the provincial Chief Justice at Jammu and Srinagar who were under the direct control of the judicial member of the council .

        In 1905 the 16 years old State Counsel was abolished and powers were restored to Maharaja Pratab Singh and under the new arrangements the Maharaja became the final authority in all matters of administration including the administration of justice , but Government of India retaining complete control over Maharaja placed a number of restrictions on him and Maharaja could exercise his powers only on the advice of the President in respect of appointment or removal of heads of departments including the Chief Judicial Officer with the concurrence of the Government of India. Thereafter, Maharaja distributed the business of the State among a fixed number of Ministers including an officer with the designation of a "Judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court ", thus judicial member instead of being styled as judicial Minister assumed the name of the Judge High Court and this was the first step to separate higher judicial functions from the Executive, however, it was 1912 when the draft of the Criminal Procedure Code was approved and introduced into the State With the High Court was statutorily defined as the highest Court of Criminal Appeal , but Maharaja continued to remain as the highest judicial authority in the State with the poWers of passing, even the capital punishment.

          In the year 1921 after Maharaja was restored full powers of Administration by British Government with some conditions that Maharaja ordered consolidation of existing laws and regulations in the State regulating functiontiof High Court and subject to the control and judicial powers exercised by the Maharaja , the High Court existing in the State was retained as highest Court of Appeal and Revision vide Regulation No. XLVI, Jammu and Kashmir State Civil Courts Regulations , 1921.

           In January, 1922 Maharaja introduced Shri Pratap Reforms Regulation which envisaged for reconstitution of High Court of judicature in the State, thus the High Court was constituted of Judges appointed by Maharaja for the term to be determined by him vesting original and appellate jurisdiction in Civil and Criminal matters .High Court was also vested with powers of superintendence and control over all other Courts in the state.

       After death of Maharaja Pratab Singh in 1925 Maharaja Hari Singh succeeded who in 1928 issue Order No.1 constituted High Court of Judicature Jammu and Kashmir State consisting of Chief Justice and two or more judges as his Highness The Maharaja Bahadur may, from time to time, think fit to appoint and Vide Order no.2-dated 26 March, 1928 Lala Kunwar Sain was appointed as first Chief Justices .

      In 1897-1998(1954 Samvat) following judicial tribunals were at work :

  1. High Court.
  2. Chief Judges Courts at Srinagar and Jammu
  3. Sub-Judges Courts at Srinagar.
  4. Judicial,Assistants Courts at Srinagar and Jammu
  5. City Judges Courts at Srinagar and Jammu
  6. District Courts at Srinagar and Jammu
  7. Tehsildars and Naib Tehsildars at Srinagar and Jammu.
  8. Jail Superintendents Courts at Srinagar and Jammu.
  9. Gilgit Road Engineers Courts.
  10. Visitor's Courts at Srinagar
  11. . Honorary' Magistrates in Jammu and Kashmir Province.
  12. Motmid-Ala's Courts at Gulmarg.

In 1955-57 (Samvat) a Sub-Registrars Court was established at Srinagar and in 1958-60 two Munsiff Courts were opened at Mirpur and Muzaffarabad . In 1960 (Samvat) the position of the courts was as under:‑

  1. High Court
  2. Sadar Court including Wazir Wazarats of Ladakh and Gilgit.
  3. Judicial Assistants Courts.                                 I
  4. City Judges Courts.
  5. Wazarats courts
  6. Sub-Judges Court Mirpur.
  7. Sub-Judges Court Udhampur.
  8. Munsiffs court at Muzaffarabad .
  9. Munsiffs Court at Mirpur.
  10. Treasury Officer Court, Srinagar.
  11. Tehsild`ais courts .
  12.  Superintendent Jail Courts.
  13. Visitors courts at Srinagar.
  14. Gilgit Road Engineers Courts.
  15. Motimid-Alas Court at Gulmarg.
  16. Sub-Registrars Court.




Re-organisation Scheme of the Judicial department was sanctioned under the State Council Resolution No.4 dated the 13th July, 1904(Har 1961 SVT) establishing Sub-Judges Court at Jammu and, at Srinagar and denomination of the District Judges Court at Mirpur was changed to that of a first grade Sub-Judges Court, besides first class magisterial powers were conferred on settlement officers in cases involving Settlement employees . The total number of Courts exercising Criminal Jurisdiction in 1909 was 90 excluding High Court , there were four Sessions Judges, 6 District Magistrates , Four Additional District Magistrates, 15 First Class Magistrates , 17 Second Class Magistrates, 41, III Class Magistrates and three Courts exercising summary powers . There were 68 Courts exercising Civil Jurisdiction excluding High Court , 4 Sadar Courts , 6 Wazarat Courts , 3 First Grade Sub-Judge Courts , 1 second grade Sub-Judge Court , 5 Munsiff Courts , 25 Tehsil Courts , 22 Niabat Courts, besides Courts of Treasury officer and Sub-Registrar at Srinagar.

In 1920 Civil Courts Act was enacted creating following civil Sub­ordinate Courts;

  1. The Court of District Judge (District Court).
  2. The Court of Additional Judge .
  3. The Court of Sub-ordinate Judge.
  4. The Court of Munsiff.

           In 1926 ( 1983 SVT) a Sub-Judges Court at Kathua and two Special Judge and two sub-Judges under the Agriculturist Relief Regulation were opened raising the number of Criminal Courts to 122 and that of Civil Courts to 62. After the establishment of the High Court in the year 1928 three types of Courts came into existence namely Civil, Criminal and Revenue Courts which continue as on present known as Devani Adalat, Faujdari Adalat and Adalat Mal The civil Courts were presided by Munsiffs and Sub-Judges, the criminal courts by the Magistrates and the Revenue courts by the Collectors / Assistant Collector/ Tehsildars /Naib Tehsildars . Judges of Civil Courts and Criminal Courts were directly under the supervision of the High Court and the Revenue Magistrates under the Executive .

      In 1955 the Hon'ble High Court issued Order No. 230 dated 1.3.1955 separating judicial functions from those of Executive by directing Additional District Magistrates to transfer Criminal Cases pending before Revenue Magistrates to available Judicial Magistrates.

        In 1956 constitution of Jammu and Kashmir came into force . Section 18 of the constitution provisions for the separation of judiciary from the Executive and it was in 1966 that State Legislature passed Act No. XL of 1966 to provide for the separation of Judicial and Executive functions in the State which received assent of the governor on 28`h of October, 1966. At present there is complete separation of Judicial and Executive functions of the State .

        In 1978 the position vis-a-vis Magistrates functioning on judicial side was as under:‑

  1. Chief Judicial Magistrate.
  2. Judicial Magistrate (First Class) ‑
  3. Judicial Magistrate (Second Class)
  4. Special Judicial Magistrates