Title with Logo of High Court of Karnataka Title with Logo of High Court of Karnataka
Decrease Font Size Reset Font Size Increase Font Size Magenta on Black Background Original Background
Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav








After the death of Tippu Sultan in 1799, the British recognized the claim of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III, son of Chamaraja Wodeyar to the throne of the State. Poornaiah continued to be the Diwan and Barry Close was the Resident.

The State was divided into three ‘Subhas’ each under the control of a Subhedar, who was the executive officer and also the Judge in his domain. ‘Subhas’ were divided into Districts and the latter into Taluks.

On October 21, 1831 the Governor-General of India Bentick issued proclamation and assumed administration of Mysore for East India Company on the allegation that Raja was incapable of handling the affairs of the State. Administration of Mysore was entrusted to a Board of Commissioners which included a Senior Commissioner and a Junior Commissioner. This Board was assisted by Diwan in financial matters and the Resident in political relations of the Ruler. This Board was abolished in June 1832 and administration of the State was entrusted to one single Commissioner.

After the death of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III in 1868, the British restored the throne to his adopted son Chamarajendra Wodeyar only in March 1881.

In 1881 the post of the Commissioner was abolished and British Resident was appointed in at Mysore. A post of Diwan was created and he was to be the head of the administrative machinery with a council of two advisors.

The above system of administration continued till the Maharaja executed the instrument of accession to the Dominion of India on 24-9-1947.

Under the Constitution of India, Mysore State was Part ‘B’ State with the Maharaja designated as the ‘RAJPRAMUKH’.


Under Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan, administration of Justice was mainly a local concern. Revenue Officers also acted as Judges. It was the duty of the Amils to investigate serious criminal cases and report to higher authorities for decision. There was a Sadar (Chief) Court at the Capital for administering justice in accordance with Mohammadan Law. Qazis in important towns decided matters concerning succession, inheritance and other matters as per the provisions of Mohammadan Law.

During the regime of Diwan Poornaiah and thereafter, due regard was paid to age old institutions and doctrines of Hindu Law. Matters were usually determined according to earlier precedents and practices. Administration of civil justice was conducted in a manner analogous to that of criminal justice. Separate Department of Justice was constituted at Mysore. It consisted of two Bakshis as Judges, two Sheristedars, six respectable persons who constituted a Standing Panchayet, with one Qazi and one Pandit. In this Court, both civil and criminal cases were heard. Matters relating to caste or community were referred for decision to Pandit or Qazi, as the case may be, who were aided by Panchayet. In taluks also, the disputes were settled through the Panchayet either nominated by the parties or constituted by the Taluk authorities. When life or liberty of a prisoner was involved, the case was fixed for final hearing before the Diwan who pronounced his decision in consultation with the Resident. Death penalty was inflicted only in cases of murder or plunder. Theft or robbery was punished with imprisonment and hard labour in pRoportion to the nature of crimes. In cases where traditional laws and customs were not applicable, the courts were to act according to the justice, equity and good conscience.

In the beginning of the 18th century, after the Maharaja assumed the reins of the Government, he established a new Sadar Court presided over by two Bakshis to decide civil suits of the value of more than Rs.â500/-. Below the Sadar Court, there were three inferior courts, each presided over by two Presidents called Hakims. The two inferior courts were empowered to decide ivil suits, one court upto the value of Rs. 100/- and another court from Rs. 100/- to Rs. 500/-. The third inferior court had exclusive powers to try criminal cases, such as assault, robbery and minor offences and submit proceedings to the Bakshis of the Sadar Court to impose punishment. In respect of heinous crimes, the Bakshis would submit a report to His Highness the Maharaja and get his orders for awarding sentence.

In 1834, the entire State was divided into four divisions viz., Bangalore, Nagar, Chitaldurg and Ashtagram. Each division was represented by an European Officer designated as the Superintendent. He was vested with judicial powers in addition to his duties of collection of revenue.

During the period from 1831-1855 there were 5 grades of Courts for administration of Justice in the State. They were :

(i) Amildar of the Taluk ;

(ii) Principal Sadr Munsiff;

(iii) Superintendent;

(iv) Judges of the Huzur Adalat;

(v) The commissioner.

At the Taluka level, Amildar decided civil disputes in respect of the suits upto the value of Rs. 100/-. He was empowered to decide suits upto the value of Rs. 500/- with the assistance of Panchayet. He was also vested with powers to try criminal cases and impose fine upto Rs. 7/- and imprisonment for 14 days. He was the head of the Police force.

The Principal Sadr Munsiff was the Court of the original jurisdiction, as well as, the Court of Appeal. He had original jurisdiction to decide suits involving landed property of the value above Rs. 100/- and not exceeding Rs. 1,000/- and other suits of the value upto Rs. 5,000/-. He was the final Court of Appeal in respect of all the suits except the suits involving landed property. He had also jurisdiction to try criminal cases and impose fine upto Rs. 15/- and pass sentence of imprisonment for 2 years.

The superintendent was also the Court of original jurisdiction in respect of suits involving landed property of the value above Rs. 1,000/- and other suits of the value above Rs. 5,000/-. All the appeals from the lower Courts would lie to the Court of the Superintendent. He was exercising powers as Criminal Court to impose sentence upto 7 years imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 30/-.

Huzur Adalat comprised of three Indian Judges. It had no original jurisdiction to decide civil suits. It was a Court of Appeal from the decision of the subordinate native courts. Whenever the Commissioner presided in person to hear Civil appeals, the judges of the Adalat acted as assessors. In criminal cases, the Huzur Adalat and the Commissioner had unlimited powers to impose any sentence of imprisonment and fine. But, the decision of the Adalat was subject to revision by the Commissioner. All sentences of death had to be submitted to the Government of India for confirmation.

The Commissioner was the Court of Appeal to decide all appeals from the decisions of the Superintendent and Huzur Adalat.

Panchayet System was widely recognized. Suits were decided with assistance of Panchayet in the Courts of the Amildar, Sadr Munsiff and Superintendent. Five most respectable and intelligent inhabitants who were nominated by the court and competent to perform the duties of the Panchayetdars were permitted to sit in open court with all the facilities to follow the proceedings. Except in cases of glaring injustice, gross impartiality or corruption, it was not deemed advisable to set aside the opinion of the majority of Panchayet.

In 1856, a Judicial Commissioner was appointed to assist the Commissioner. Deputy Superintendents who were subordinate to the Superintendents of the Divisions were appointed. They were empowered to adjudicate civil suit of unlimited pecuniary jurisdiction with a provision of appeal to the Courts of Superintendents.

Under the revised Constitution of Mysore Administration , Huzur Adalat and Sadr Munsiff Court were abolished. Small Causes Courts were established.

During 1862-63 the following Courts were in existence :

(i) Judicial Commissioner exercising powers of the Chief Court with Criminal and Civil Jurisdiction over the whole State;

(ii) Superintendents of Divisions;

(iii) Deputy Superintendents of Districts;

(iv) Judges of Small Causes Courts;

(v) European Assistant Superintendents;

(vi) Amildars of Taluks.

During 1862-63, the Superintendents of Divisions were vested with powers of Sessions Judges. Judicial Commissioner was vested with powers of Sadr Court. All sentences of death passed in Sessions Cases were forwarded for confirmation to the Court of the Judicial Commissioner which was a court of final reference, revision and of appeal in all judicial proceedings.

In 1869, revised Rules of Civil Procedure was introduced and Asst. Superintendents were relieved of the Civil work and in their places, Judicial Assistants were appointed.

In 1872, Criminal Procedure Code (Act X of 1872) was introduced in Mysore.

In 1874-75, Munsiffs with jurisdiction to decide civil suits were appointed in the place of Amildars.

In 1876, the following Courts were existing :

(a).Judicial Commissioner,


(c) Deputy Commissioners,

(d) Small Causes Court,

(e) Judicial Assistants,

(f) Munsiffs.

In 1879, Judicial Administration was completely bifurcated from revenue administration except in the case of the Deputy Commissioner who continued to be the District Magistrate. Courts of the District Judges with unlimited original jurisdiction, as well as, pecuniary jurisdiction were established. Judicial Assistants were replaced by Sub-Judges. The District Judge was also the appellate authority to hear appeals from the decisions of the Sub-Judges.

In 1880, the following civil courts were in existence to administer justice:

(a) Court of the Chief Judge, Mysore;

(b) Courts of the District Judges;

(c) Bangalore Court of Small Causes;

(d) Subordinate Judges’ Courts;

(e) Munsiffs’ Courts.

However, the Bangalore Small Causes Court was abolished in 1881.

The Chief Court of Mysore was reconstituted with three Judges under the Mysore Chief Court Regulation I of 1884. This Court was the highest Court of Appeal, Reference and Revision in the territories of Mysore and had powers of superintendence and control over all other Courts in the State.

In 1887, the system of trial by jury was introduced in Sessions cases. Under the Chief Court, there were District Courts, Subordinate Judges' Courts and Munsiffs' Courts on the Civil side and Court of Sessions, District Magistrate and Magistrates of First, Second and Third Class, on the criminal side.

Below the Munsiffs' Courts, village Courts were established.

In 1880, Munsiffs were invested with the powers of Taluka Magistrates. However, Amildars still retained their magisterial powers.

In 1881, administration of Criminal justice was presided over by the Chief Judge. His Court exercised powers of the High Court as described in the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code.

In 1895, three District Courts, one in Bangalore with jurisdiction over the Districts of Bangalore, Kolar and Tumkur, one in Mysore with jurisdiction over the Districts of Mysore and Hassan and one in Shimoga with jurisdiction over the Districts of Shimoga, Kadur and Chitaldurg were established. These Courts exercised civil jurisdiction within its territorial limits. The pecuniary jurisdiction of the District Courts was upto the value of Rs. 10,000/-. They had exclusive jurisdiction over the cases in respect of Probate, Administration, Land Acquisition and minors' estates.

Three Subordinate Judges Courts, one in Bangalore, one in Mysore and one in Shimoga having territorial jurisdiction co-terminus with those of their respective District Courts were established. These courts exercised pecuniary jurisdiction above Rs. 2,500/- but not exceeding Rs. 10,000/- in value with effect from 1-4-1899. These courts also exercised Small Causes jurisdiction in respect of money suits above Rs. 50/- but not exceeding Rs. 100/- in value. The Subordinate Judges of Mysore and Shimoga were also authorised to hear appeals from the decisions of the Munsiffs, which were transferred to them by the respective District Judges.

The courts of Munsiffs exercised original jurisdiction in respect of suits of the value upto Rs. 2,500/- and had been invested with powers of the Courts of the Small Causes in respect of money suits not exceeding Rs. 50/- in value.

By Village Courts Regulation VII of 1913, Village Courts presided over by Village Munsiffs were established. The structure of these courts was chiefly based on the Madras Village Courts Act I of 1889. These Village Courts exercised exclusive jurisdiction in respect of certain classes of suits upto the pecuniary limit of Rs. 20/-. However, these courts decided suits upto the value of Rs. 200/-, if both the parties gave their consent in writing.

Honorary Magistrates were appointed in Bangalore and Mysore in 1909-10.

During the years 1911-13, three permanent Sessions Courts were established at Bangalore, Mysore and Shimoga. There were three Assistant Sessions Judges in Bangalore, Mysore and Shimoga to try Sessions cases transferred to them by the respective Sessions Judges.

Trial of Sessions cases was usually conducted with the aid of assessors.

Sessions trial by jury system was introduced in Bangalore and Mysore in 1917 and the same system was extended to the Districts of Kolar and Tumkur in 1922.

Practice of holding Circuit Sessions was prevailing.

There were District Magistrates in each District to hear appeals also.

In May 1918, a scheme for providing separate agency for the disposal of original criminal work was sanctioned. According to it, there were three grades of Special Magistrates. The first grade Magistrates were the First Class Magistrates and they exercised appellate powers. The second grade Magistrates exercised powers of the II Class Magistrates. In special cases, they were invested with the powers of the First Class Magistrates and also the appellate powers. The third grade Magistrates generally exercised Second Class Magisterial powers. Bench of Magistrates was constituted in places wherever possible for the trial of second and third class cases.

The Asst. Commissioners, Amildars and Deputy Amildars continued to be Ex-Officio Magistrates. They exercised only the powers of executive Magistrates as referred to under Chapters VIII to XI of the Criminal Procedure Code.

During 1915-16, sanction was given for the constitution of Bench of Magistrates at Tumkur, Chickmagalur, Hassan and Chitaldurg. In 1923-24, such Courts were established in all the Districts.

In 1919, a scheme for the separation of judicial functions from the executive was introduced. Under this scheme, revenue officers were divested of judicial functions and separate Magistracy was constituted.

A Stationery Magistrate of the rank of Munsiff was appointed for every two or three taluks for disposing of second and third class cases and a Magistrate of the status of Subordinate Judge was appointed for district head-quarters for trying first class cases. These special magistrates formed a separate branch of judicial service. Deputy Commissioner continued to have powers of District Magistrates.

Administration and control over all the Magistrates’ Courts in the district had been vested in the District Magistrate who was also the Deputy Commissioner till June 1, 1956. From that date separation of Judiciary from executive was brought into force and the Magistrates’ Courts, came under the control of the Judicial District Magistrate who also exercised general administration and supervision over them. Civil Judges were being appointed as Judicial District Magistrates by the State Government. The scheme of separation of judiciary from executive when it was introduced in 1956 was designed within the then existing framework of the Criminal Procedure Code.


In the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Coorg was being ruled by petty chiefs called Nayaks. In the seventeenth century the rulers of Haleri dynasty directly established their rule over the territory of Coorg. Muddu Raja shifted his capital from Haleri to Madikeri. Chikkavira Rajendra Wodeyar who ruled Coorg from 1820 to 1834 was deposed by the British Resident. East India Company annexed the territory of Coorg and brought it under the administration of the Foreign and Political Department of the Government of India with the Commissioner of Mysore State as the Commissioner of Coorg also.

Under the Government of India Act, 1919 Coorg was constituted as the Chief Commissioner’s Province with a legislative Council consisting of elected and nominated members. After the Constitution of India came into force, Coorg became Part ‘C’ State.

Mysore Civil Courts Act, 1964 :

This Act came into force with effect from 1st July 1964 to provide for a uniform law relating to the constitution, powers and jurisdiction of the civil courts in the State of Mysore. By virtue of the same, three classes of civil courts subordinate to the High Court of Mysore were established in each district. They were (i) District Court, (ii) Civil Judges’ Courts and (iii) Munsiffs’ Courts.

Present set up of judiciary in the State :

At present, recruitment and promotion to the Karnataka Judicial Service are governed under the Karnataka Judicial Service (Recruitment) Rules, 1983.

The Judicial Service in the State consists of :

(i) District & Sessions Judges (Supertime scale);

(ii) District & Sessions Judges;

(iii) Senior Civil Judges and Chief Judicial Magistrates,

(iv) Civil Judges and Judicial Magistrates of First Class.

Initial recruitment to the cadre of the Civil Judges and Judicial Magistrates First Class, is made directly by the High Court from amongst the practicing advocates or from amongst the Senior Public Prosecutors or Asst. Public Prosecutors. The selected candidates would be on probation for a period of two years. During this period they shall undergo such training as prescribed by the High Court.

There are 347 posts in the said cadre carrying a pay scale of Rs. 27700-770-33090-920-40450-1080-49090-1230-58930-1380-67210-1540-76450.

The cadre of Senior Civil Judges and Chief Judicial Magistrates are purely promotional posts from the cadre of the Civil Judges and Judicial Magistrates First Class, in the pay scale of Rs. 39530-920-40450-1080-49090-1230-54010. There are 363 posts in this cadre.

The cadre of District Judges is filed up by direct recruitment, as well as, by promotion from the cadre of Senior Civil Judges and Chief Judicial Magistrates. Direct recruitment is made from amongst the members of the Bar with 7 years practice. The District Judge starts with a basic pay of Rs. 51,550/- in the scale of Rs. 51550-1230-58930-1380-63070.

There are 115 posts of District Judges at present. The directly recruited Judges from the Bar will be on probation for a period of two years and they must undergo such training, as may be, prescribed by the High Court.

There are 20 posts of District & Sessions Judges (Supertime scale) in the pay scale of Rs. 70290-1540-76450. These posts are filled up by promotion on selection from the cadre of the District & Sessions Judges who have put in 5 years of service as such.



District Court :

Entire District.

Territorial :

Senior Civil Judge:

One or more taluks of the District.

Civil Judge :

Every Revenue Taluk of the Dist.

Pecuniary :

Senior Civil Judge :

Rs. 5,00,000/- and above

Court of Small Causes at Bangalore :

Upto Rs. 2,00,000/-

Appellate Jurisdiction of the Dist. Court :

Upto Rs. 10,00,000/-


Jurisdiction :

Territorial : Metropolitan area comprising Bangalore City declared under Section 8 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

Pecuniary : Unlimited in respect of suits and other proceedings of civil nature except suits or other proceedings which are cognizable by the High Court and Court of Small Causes.