The litigation process in India is based on common law. It is largely based on English common law because of the long period of British colonial influence during the British Raj.
There is a single hierarchy of courts in India. Much of contemporary Indian law shows substantial European and American influence. Various acts and ordinances first introduced by the British are still in effect in modified form today. During the drafting of the Indian Constitution, laws from Ireland, the United States, Britain, and France were all synthesized to get a refined set of Indian laws as it currently stands. Indian laws also adhere to the United Nations guidelines on human rights law and environmental law. Certain international trade laws, such as those on intellectual property, are also enforced in India
Each state drafts it own laws, however all the states have more or less the same laws. Laws directed by the central government and the Supreme Court of India via judicial precedent or general policy directives are binding on all citizens of each state. Each state has its own labor laws and taxation rates.
India's judicial system is made up of the Supreme Court of India at the apex of the hierarchy for the entire country and High Courts at the top of the hierarchy in each State. These courts have jurisdiction over a state, a union territory or a group of states and union territories. Below the High Courts are a hierarchy of subordinate courts such as the civil courts, family courts, criminal courts and various other district courts.
The High Courts are the principal civil courts of original jurisdiction in the state, and can try all offences including those punishable with death. However, the bulk of the work of most High Courts consists of Appeals from lowers courts and writ petitions in terms of Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The precise jurisdiction of each High Court varies.
Each state is divided into judicial districts presided over by a 'District and Sessions Judge'. He is known as a District Judge when he presides over a civil case, and a Sessions Judge when he presides over a criminal case. He is the highest judicial authority below a High Court judge. Below him, there are courts of civil jurisdiction, known by different names in different states.