Appeal through High Courts in India

The High Court in India is considered the Supreme Judicial body of the state. Article 214 of the Constitution of India mentions that every state in India must have a High Court. And later in Article 231 of the Constitution of India provides that there can be a common High Court for two or more states and a Union Territory. And every High Court has a Chief Justice and other judges appointed by the President of India.

Types of Courts in India

The Indian Judicial System gets based on common law in which customs, precedents and legislation play a vital role. India is among the largest countries in the world with a vast population and a strong legal system, with various courts.

There are four types of Courts in India, i.e., Supreme Court, High Court, District Court, Subordinate Court, and various other tribunals.

Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court of India is the Apex Court of India. It is the country’s highest judicial body, which is present in India’s capital city, i.e., Delhi. It is the highest constitutional court with the power of judicial review and the final court of appeal as provided under the Constitution of India. The Court consists of thirty judges and a Chief Justice of India, making the maximum number of judges to be Thirty-one appointed in the Supreme Court.

High Courts

The High Court in India is the highest court of the state, and each state has one high court, which can have the other bench as well. India gets divided into Twenty Eight states and Eight Union territories. It has Twenty Five High Courts in India in total other than the additional bench of the high courts in some of the states of India. There can be a common high court for more than one state. The High Court has the power to deal with the cases related to original civil and criminal jurisdiction in cases where lower courts do not have the jurisdiction to deal with some instances. In some cases, the High Court can also have original jurisdiction.

A Cause List of every High Court is published every day, showing how many cases are to get dealt for the day with the details of the case.

District Court

The District Court is present in every district of every state or union territory of the country and is subordinate to the high court of that state or union territory. The constitution of the district court depends upon the discretion of the state government of that state or union territory.

Subordinate Courts

The Lok Adalat and Nyay Adalat get organised by the district courts for the villagers to solve their matter, which gets considered a subordinate court to the district court. This made it easier to reach the number of citizens who live in rural areas to get justice.


There are various tribunals present in India that deal with cases related to a particular matter. Thus, it helps in reducing the burden of the courts.

Hierarchy of Courts in India

Hierarchy of Criminal Courts

  • The Supreme Court of India
  • The High Courts in India
  • Lower Courts:
    • Metropolitan Court
      • Session Court
      • Chief Metropolitan Magistrate
      • First Class Metropolitan Magistrate
    • District Court
      • Session Court
      • First Class Judicial Magistrate
      • Second Class Judicial Magistrate
      • Executive Magistrate

Hierarchy of Civil Courts

  • Supreme Court
  • High Court
  • District Court
    • Senior Civil Judge Court
    • Civil Judge Court
    • Small Cause Court


The appeal is the process by which the judgement of the court can get challenged in the superior court. Any person (a party to the dispute) can file an appeal in case of the death of any party by its legal representatives. The person filing an appeal is known as the appellant. And such an appeal is filed as an appellate court. The law does not always provide the right to appeal. Only in some instances can an appeal get filed in a specific manner as mentioned by the law. The Code of Criminal Procedure deals with criminal matters, and the Code of Civil Procedure deals with civil matters.

High Court Appeal

As per the hierarchy of the courts in India, the trial courts are the subordinate courts to the High Court in India. Any appeal from the subordinate courts can get filed in the High Court of the respective state of any matter, whether civil or criminal.


An appeal that arises from civil matters is known as a civil appeal. Such an appeal can get filed against the judgement or order. The Code of Civil Procedure governs such appeals; the High Court in India also can set rules and procedures for appeal in civil cases.

An appeal in civil matters gets filed before the High Court under the CPC.

The appeal requires the removal of the case from an inferior court to a higher court to recheck the validity of the inferior court decision.

Grounds Of High Court Appeal

  • The decree by the court can get challenged based on the case fact and the legal interpretation of the legal provision.
  • In the case where the party to the dispute objects to an unambiguous agreement, the court’s jurisdiction passes the judgement and the decree.
  • The failure of the court to provide justice due to its incompetence
  • In the case where the party to the dispute has not joined in the original suit proceedings
  • Where the interpretation of the law by the subordinate court is in question
  • In case of any defect where there is error irregularity in the legal proceedings
  • In issues where the substantial question of law arises and is affecting the rights of the party.

Who can file an High Court Appeal?

Any of the following people can file a high court appeal:

  • A party to the original proceeding or his or her legal representative.
  • A person who claims to be under the party to the proceeding or transferee of interest of such party.
  • Any person who is the guardian of a minor as appointed by the court.
  • Any other person who is aggrieved and has taken leave from the court.

Who cannot file an appeal?

The following person cannot file a high court appeal:

  • A party that has relinquished its right to file an appeal by signing an unambiguous agreement.
  • A party that has already availed a benefit by the decree passed by the court.

Cases in which no appeal lies

Following are the cases in which no appeal lies in the High Court:

  • In case when the party has a consent decree, where the party has agreed to compromise.
  • In cases where the amount of the subject matter in question is relatively low and can be dealt with by the Small cause court

Appeal from original decree

An appeal can get filed under Chapter VII of the Code of Civil Procedure deals with the appeal, and Section 96 of the Code of Civil procedure, 1908, provides the Appeal from the Original Decree.

Appeal from Original Decree lies in the court passing the decree that exercises the court’s original jurisdiction. Such appeal lies in cases where the original decree gets passed ex parte and on the question of law.

No such appeal lies in the cases where the party’s consent passes the decree, or the nature of the case is such that it is cognisable by the small-clause court if the amount of the suit gets confined to a sum of Rs. 10000/-.

Second Appeal

When a substantial question of law arises in the decree or judgement of the appellate court, then such decree can again get challenged in the second appeal before the High Court.

Stay of Proceeding

The filing of an appeal does not amount to the stay of proceedings, but in some instances, the appellate court may order the stay of execution of decree where the courts find sufficient reason to do so.

Stay of proceedings can also be imposed by the court that has passed the decree if an application that states enough cause is made before the time allotted for filing such appeal has expired.

Procedure of High Appeal Court in Civil Matter

To file an appeal in the High Court in India, the party must sign a memorandum. It includes the reason, and grounds of objection against the decree challenged before the court, along with the copy of the decree or judgment.

In the case where the appeal is against the decree for the payment of money, the appellant shall deposit the amount in dispute along with a security deposit as the cost of an appeal.

Limitation Under High Court Appeal in Civil Cases

The 90 days is for filing an appeal before the High court in India from the date of the decree.

Appeal in Criminal Matters

Appeal by Convicted Person

Any person convicted for any offence punishable with imprisonment of seven years or more and gets convicted by the session judge or another court may appeal to the High Court.

Appeal by the State

The state government is vested with the power to appeal before the high court to enhance the accused’s sentence, where the sentence seems inadequate.

The state can also appeal before the High Court against the acquittal or the reduction of the sentence.

Appeal by Complainant

The complainant who seeks leave has the right to appeal within 60 days from the date of order of acquittal. If the High Court refuses such an application, then no further appeal can get filed.

Appeal by the Accused

If the complainant has filed the complaint, the accused has the right to file an appeal against the complaint about acquittal seeking leave to file an appeal.

In the case where the state has filed an appeal before the High Court in India to enhance the convicted person’s sentence, a reasonable opportunity is given to the accused to challenge the enhancement of the sentence. Even the Accused gets the right to appeal for acquittal or the reduction of the sentence.

Limitation period for filing appeal before High Court in Criminal Matters

The period for filing an appeal in the High Court in India is 30 days in case of a death sentence passed by the session court.

The limitation period in case of acquittal by session court and cases where it is necessary to seek special leave of the court is 90 days.

Procedure for filing appeal for Criminal Matter in High Court in India

  1. The appeal filed before the High Court should be in written form. It should get presented in the court either by the convict, or the accused, by his advocate or if the accused is in jail by the jail authorities on his behalf.
  2. Clear grounds for the appeal should get mentioned in the appeal. The court has the power to dismiss the appeal if the court does not find any reasonable ground to interfere in the matter. But the court can dismiss the appeal only after allowing the accused to be heard.
  3. When the jail authorities file the appeal, even then, the accused gets an opportunity to be heard unless the appeal gets misappropriated to the case’s circumstance.
  4. The appeal cannot get rejected unless the period for filing an appeal expires.
  5. If an appeal by jail authority gets dismissed and another appeal is filed by the accused or his advocate, the court has to hear the petition. And dispose of it as required for the interest of justice.
  6. The high court has to record the reason for the dismissal of the appeal in case the court dismisses such appeal summarily.
  7. If the appeal is not dismissed summarily, in that case, the formal hearing notice that contains a date, time and place of the hearing is given to the accused or his advocate and the complainant.


The appeal is the right of every person who is not satisfied with the decision of the subordinate court. In the case where a party is not satisfied with the district’s decision, judgment or decree, the appeal lies with the High Court of that state to seek better remedy. The High Court in India gets vested with the powers to deal with appeals in civil and criminal cases and has original jurisdiction. Also, the court can dismiss such appeal or pass a decree in favour or against the appellant.


What is the period to file an appeal in a civil case?

The appeal before the High Court from any decree or judgement passed by the subordinate court can be made within 90 days from the date of the passing of the decree or the order.

What is the period to file an appeal in a criminal case?

The time for filing an appeal is 30 days in case of a death sentence passed by the session court. The limitation period in the acquittal of the accused is 90 days.

When in case of criminal appeal, no court fee gets paid?

If an accused is in jail and has filed an appeal through jail authorities, then no court fee is to be paid to file an appeal.

How is the Court fee calculated if the accused filed an appeal through an advocate in a criminal case?

In a criminal case, if an advocate files the appeal before the High Court, even if the accused is in jail, the court fee is to be paid as mentioned under the Court Fee Act schedule.

How many High Courts in India works?

There are twenty-five High Courts in India.

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