Criminal Courts

INTRODUCTION

The Code of Criminal Procedure is a part of procedural law under adversarial criminal justice system. As per section 20 of IPC, 1860, ‘the court of justice” denote, a judge who is empowered by law to act judicially alone, or a body of judges which is empowered by law to act judicially alone, or a body, when such judge or body of judges is acting judicially. The courts are first constituted in Britain. She is also known for the Mother of Parliament. The main function of the Court is interpretation of law and delivery of justice vide protecting individual rights, crime control, punishing criminals, treatment of offenders thereby, improving the efficiency of administration and society. This code comprehensively arranges the procedure for detection of crime, apprehension of suspected criminals, aggregation of evidences, determination of guilt and rendering judgement by imposing punishment on the guilt proven person. Here CrPC, deals with criminal courts – its constitution and powers under chapter II (sections 6 – 23) and chapter III (sections 26 – 29) respectively.

HIERARCHY OF CRIMINAL COURTS

123456                      Supreme Court                          High Court                      Session Court(Session Judge, Additional Session Judge)

Assistant Session Judge Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Chief Judicial Magistrate

123Metropolitan Magistrate Special                 Metropolitan Magistrate                                                                                Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate

Judicial Magistrate Special J.M. Judicial Magistrate Special J.M.

First Class First Class Second Class Second Class

The Supreme Court of India and a High Court of each State have been created and its civil and criminal jurisdictions are well defined in the Constitution of India itself. As enumerated by the Constitution, Article 227(1), provides that every High Court shall have superintendence over all courts and tribunals throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction. Thereafter, the CrPC, 1973 makes further provision in case of,
The Supreme Court for appeal under certain circumstances, and enables the to transfer cases between the High Courts and Subordinate Courts.
All High Courts, shall so exercise superintendence over the courts of Judicial Magistrates subordinate to it as to ensure an expeditious and proper disposal of cases by such Magistrates under its supervisory jurisdiction.

SECTION 6 – CLASSES OF CRIMINAL COURTS
Besides the High Courts and the Courts constituted under any law, other than this Code, there shall be, in every State, the following classes of Criminal Courts,
(i) Courts of Session;
(ii) Judicial Magistrates of the first class and, in any metropolitan area, Metropolitan Magistrates;
(iii) Judicial Magistrates of the second class; and
(iv) Executive Magistrates.
The executive magistrates are appointed by the higher executive authorities under the state government. In Mammon v. State of Kerala, there was a proposal from the Kerala state Electricity Board to construct and lay a 110 K.V. double circuit transmission at Kattampally. The proposal envisaged that those constructions would cross over the property of the petitioners in the two cases. Thereby, the District Magistrate passed an order giving permission to the assistant executive engineer to exercise power mentioned u/s. 10, of the Indian Telegraph Act in respect of the lands of the petitioners. Now, a criminal revision petition was filed to the court of sessions against the prior order. Thus, the court stated that, though an Executive Magistrate is one of the classes of courts, that does not mean that where he functions administratively and not judicially, he functions as a court.
SECTION 7 – TERRITORIAL DIVISIONS
It is mandatory to demarcate the territorial units over the territory of the country, without obscureness, for the efficient administration of government. In India, territorial segregations are done both judicially and executively.
(1) Every State shall be a sessions division or shall consist of sessions divisions; and every sessions division shall, for the purposes of this Code, be a district or consist of districts:
Provided that every metropolitan area shall, for the said purposes, be a separate sessions division and district.
(2) The State Government may, after consultation with the High Court, alter the limits or the number of such divisions and districts
(3) The State Government may, after consultation with the High Court, divide any district into sub-divisions and may alter the limits or the number of such sub-divisions.
(4) The sessions divisions, districts and sub-divisions existing in a State at the commencement of this Code, shall be deemed to have been formed under this section.
SEPARATION OF JUDICIARY FROM EXECUTIVE (SECTION 3(4))
Judicial Magistrate shall exercise the functions relating to matters in which appreciation or shifting of evidence is involved or which involve the formulation of any decision by which any person is exposed to a penalty or punishment or detention in custody, inquiry or trial.
Executive Magistrate shall exercise the functions regarding the matters which are executive or administrative in nature.

SECTION 8 – METROPOLITAN AREAS
(1) The State Government may, by notification, declare that, as from such date as may be specified in the notification, any area in the State comprising a city or town whose population exceeds one million shall be a metropolitan area for the purposes of this Code.
(2) As from the commencement of this Code, each of the Presidency-towns of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras and the city of Ahmedabad shall be deemed to be declared under subsection (1) to be a metropolitan area.
(3) The State Government may, by notification, extend, reduce or alter the limits of a metropolitan area but the reduction or alteration shall not be so made as to reduce the population of such area to less than one million.
(4) Where, after an area has been declared, or deemed to have been declared to be, a metropolitan area, the population of such area falls below one million, such area shall, on and from such date as the State Government may, by notification, specify in this behalf, cease to be a metropolitan area; but notwithstanding such cesser, any inquiry, trial or appeal pending immediately before such cesser before any Court or Magistrate in such area shall continue to be dealt with under this Code, as if such cesser had not taken place.
(5) Where the State Government reduces or alters, under sub-section (3), the limits of any metropolitan area, such reduction or alteration shall not affect any inquiry, trial or appeal pending immediately before such reduction or alteration before any Court or Magistrate, and every such inquiry, trial or appeal shall continue to be dealt with under this Code as if such reduction or alteration had not taken place.

SECTION 9 – COURT OF SESSION
(1) The State Government shall establish a Court of Session for every sessions division.
(2) Every Court of Session shall be presided over by a Judge, to be appointed by the High Court.
(3) The High Court may also appoint Additional Sessions Judges and Assistant Sessions Judges to exercise jurisdiction in a Court of Session.
(4) The Sessions Judge of one sessions division may be appointed by the High Court to be also an Additional Sessions Judge of another division, and in such case he may sit for the disposal of cases at such place or places in the other division as the High Court may direct.
In Gokaraju Rangaraju v. State of A.P, it was observed that, a person appointed as a Sessions Judge, Additional Sessions Judge or Assistant Sessions Judge, would be exercising jurisdiction in the Court of Session and his judgments and orders would be those of the Court of Session despite their subsequent dismissals.
In Rahul Sharma v. State of Rajasthan, it was stated by the court as, the Additional Sessions Judge or the Assistant Sessions judge exercises the powers of a Court of Session, subject to the limitations prescribed by law, but is not an independent Court of Session
(5) Where the office of the Sessions Judge is vacant, the High Court may make arrangements for the disposal of any urgent application which is, or may be, made or pending before such Court of Session by an Additional or Assistant Sessions Judge, or, if there be no Additional or Assistant Sessions Judge, by a Chief Judicial Magistrate, in the sessions division; and every such Judge or Magistrate shall have jurisdiction to deal with any such application.
In State of Karnataka v. Channabasappa, it was stated as, a Civil Judge and Chief Judicial Magistrate while acting as in-charge as per the High Court order, Sessions Judge does not have powers of a Sessions Court appointed under Section 9 of the Code for granting bail in serious cases
(6) The Court of Session shall ordinarily hold its sitting at such place or places as the High Court may, by notification, specify; but, if, in any particular case, the Court of Session is of opinion that it will tend to the general convenience of the parties and witnesses to hold its sittings at any other place in the sessions division, it may, with the consent of the prosecution and the accused, sit at that place for the disposal of the case or the examination of any witness or witnesses therein.

SECTION 10 – SUBORDINATION OF ASSISTANT SESSIONS JUDGE
(1) All Assistant Sessions Judges shall be subordinate to the Sessions Judge in whose Court they exercise jurisdiction.
(2) The Sessions Judge may, from time to time, make rules consistent with this Code, as to the distribution of business among such Assistant Sessions Judges.
(3) The Sessions Judge may also make provision for the disposal of any urgent application, in the event of his absence or inability to act, by an Additional or Assistant Sessions Judge, or, if there be no Additional or Assistant Sessions Judge, by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, and every such Judge or Magistrate shall be deemed to have jurisdiction to deal with any such application.
COURTS OF MAGISTRATES
Courts of Judicial Magistrates (S. 11)
(1) In every district (not being a metropolitan area), there shall be established as many Courts of Judicial Magistrates of the first class and of the second class, and at such places, as the State Government may, after consultation with the High Court, by notification, specify.
(2) The presiding officers of such Courts shall be appointed by the High Court.
(3) The High Court may, whenever it appears to it to be expedient or necessary, confer the powers of a Judicial Magistrate of the first class or of the second class on any member of the Judicial Service of the State, functioning as a Judge in a Civil Court.
Courts of Metropolitan Magistrates (S. 16)
(1) In every metropolitan area, there shall be established as many Courts of Metropolitan Magistrates, and at such places, as the State Government may, after consultation with the High Court, by notification, specify.
(2) The presiding officers of such Courts shall be appointed by the High Court.
(3) The jurisdiction and powers of every Metropolitan Magistrate shall extend throughout the metropolitan area.
Executive Magistrates (S. 20)
In every district and in every metropolitan area, the State Government may appoint as many persons as it thinks fit to be Executive Magistrates and shall appoint one of them to be the District Magistrate.
The Supreme Court in A.N. Roy v. Suresh Sham Singh , with the fact of increasing dilemma of trafficking of minor girls and women in metropolitan areas (central law for immoral trafficking only came into force on few states), held that the State has power to appoint the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, which is a metropolitan area as an Executive Magistrate and to further appoint him as an Additional District Magistrate who shall have the powers of a District Magistrate (notification dated: 1.10.1999).
(2) The State Government may appoint any Executive Magistrate to be an Additional district Magistrate, and such Magistrate shall have all or any of the powers of a District Magistrate under this Code or under any other law for the time being in force.
(3) Whenever, in consequence of the office of a District Magistrate becoming vacant, any officer succeeds temporarily to the executive administration of the district, such officer shall, pending the orders of the State Government, exercise all the powers and perform all the duties respectively conferred and imposed by this Code on the District Magistrate.
(4) The State Government may place an Executive Magistrate in charge of a sub-division and may relieve him of the charge as occasion requires; and the Magistrate so placed in charge of a sub-division shall be called the Sub-divisional Magistrate.
(5) Nothing in this section shall preclude the State Government from conferring, under any law for the time being in force, on a Commissioner of Police, all or any of the powers of an Executive Magistrate in relation to a metropolitan area.
CHIEF AND ADDITIONAL CHIEF MAGISTRATES
Chief Judicial Magistrate (S. 12)
In short, as per the Code in every district other than Metropolitan areas, JM of the 1st class shall be appointed as the chief judicial magistrate. The High Court is also empowered to designate JM of 1st class as additional CJM and by such designation, the Magistrate shall be empowered to exercise all or any of the powers of a CJM.
In every district (not being a metropolitan area), the High Court shall appoint a Judicial Magistrate of the first class to be the Chief Judicial Magistrate.
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrates
(2) The High Court may appoint any Judicial Magistrate of the first class to be an Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, and such Magistrate shall have all or any of the powers of a Chief Judicial Magistrate under this Code or under any other law for the time being in force as the High Court may direct.
(3) (a) The High Court may designate any Judicial Magistrate of the first class in any sub-division as the Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate and relieve him of the responsibilities specified in this section as occasion requires.
(b) Subject to the general control of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, every Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate shall also have and exercise, such powers of supervision and control over the work of the Judicial Magistrates (other than Additional Chief Judicial Magistrates) in the sub-division as the High Court may, by general or special order, specify in this behalf.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate and (S. 17)
The High Court shall, in relation to every metropolitan area within its local jurisdiction, appoint a Metropolitan Magistrate to be the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate for such metropolitan area.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrates
(2) The High Court may appoint any Metropolitan Magistrate to be an Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, and such Magistrate shall have all or any of the powers of a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate under this Code or under any other law for the time being in force as the High Court may direct.
SPECIAL MAGISTRATES
Special Judicial Magistrates (S. 13)
(1) The High Court may, if requested by the Central or State Government so to do, confer upon any person who holds or has held any post under the Government, all or any of the powers conferred or conferrable by or under this Code on a Judicial Magistrate of the second class, in respect to particular cases or to particular classes of cases or to cases generally, in any district, not being a metropolitan area:
Such Magistrates shall be called Special Judicial Magistrates and shall be appointed for such term, not exceeding one year at a time, as the High Court may, by general or special order, direct.
Special Metropolitan Magistrates (S. 18)
(1) The High Court may, if requested by the Central or State Government so to do, confer upon any person who holds or has held any post under the Government, all or any of the powers conferred or conferrable by or under this Code on a Metropolitan Magistrate, in respect to particular cases or to particular classes of cases or to cases generally, in any metropolitan area within its local jurisdiction:
Provided that no such power shall be conferred on a person unless he possesses such qualification or experience in relation to legal affairs as the High Court may, by rules, specify.
(2) Such Magistrates shall be called Special Metropolitan Magistrates and shall be appointed for such term, not exceeding one year at a time, as the High Court may, by general or special order, direct.
(3) Notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in this Code, a Special Metropolitan Magistrate shall not impose a sentence which a Judicial Magistrate of the second class is not competent to impose outside the Metropolitan area.
Special Executive Magistrates (S. 21)
The State Government may appoint, for such term as it may think fit, Executive Magistrates, to be known as Special Executive Magistrates for particular areas or for the performance of particular functions and confer on such Special Executive Magistrates such of the powers as are conferrable under this Code on Executive Magistrates, as it may deem fit
LOCAL JURISDICTION OF MAGISTRATES
Of Judicial Magistrates (S. 14)
The chief JM shall define the local limits of the areas within which the Magistrates appointed u/s. 11 or u/s. 13 may exercise all or any of the powers with which they may be vested under this code. The Special JM may hold its sitting at any place within the local area for which it is established.
Of Executive Magistrates (S. 22)
(1) Subject to the control of the State Government, the District Magistrate may, from time to time, define the local limits of the areas within which the Executive Magistrates may exercise all or any of the powers with which they may be invested under this Code.
(2) Except as otherwise provided by such definition, the jurisdiction and powers of every such Magistrate shall extend throughout the district.

SUBORDINATION OF MAGISTRATES
Of Judicial Magistrates (S. 15)
(1) Every Chief Judicial Magistrate shall be subordinate to the Sessions Judge; and every other Judicial Magistrate shall, subject to the general control of the Sessions Judge, be subordinate to the Chief Judicial Magistrate.
(2) The Chief Judicial Magistrate may, from time to time, make rules or give special orders, consistent with this Code, as to the distribution of business among the Judicial Magistrates subordinate to him.
Of Metropolitan Magistrates (S. 19)
(1) The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate and every Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate shall be subordinate to the Sessions Judge; and every other Metropolitan Magistrate shall, subject to the general control of the Sessions Judge, be subordinate to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.
(2) The High Court may, for the purposes of this Code, define the extent of the subordination, if any, of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrates to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.
(3) The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate may, from time to time, make rules or give special orders, consistent with this Code, as to the distribution of business among the Metropolitan Magistrates and as to the allocation of business to an Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.
Of Executive Magistrates (S. 23)
Executive Magistrates are undoubtedly subordinate to Court of Session as well. They must promptly send up the records of the cases whenever they are requisitioned by the Court of Session, as cleared in Mansur v. State of M.P
(1) All Executive Magistrates, other than the Additional District Magistrate, shall be subordinate to the District Magistrate, and every Executive Magistrate (other than the Sub-divisional Magistrate) exercising powers in a sub-division shall also be subordinate to the Sub-divisional Magistrate, subject, however, to the general control of the District Magistrate.
(2) The District Magistrate may, from time to time, make rules or give special orders, consistent with this Code, as to the distribution of business among the Executive Magistrates subordinate to him and as to the allocation of business to an Additional District Magistrate.
In State of Gujarat v. Ratilal Uttamchand, it was said that, a case from Sub-Divisional Magistrate’s Court cannot be transferred by the Court of Session though it is a criminal court. Transfer can be made under Section 411 by the District Magistrate to whom the Sub-Divisional Magistrate is subordinate.

EXECUTIVE MAGISTARTES

In State of Maharashtra v. Mohd Salim, the purpose of empowering State Governments to appoint Special Executive Magistrates is to meet the special needs of an area or to perform certain functions in a specified area.
POWER OF COURTS
SECTION 26 – COURTS BY WHICH OFFENCES ARE TRIABLE
Subject to the other provisions of this Code
(a) any offence under the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) may be tried by
the High Court, or
the Court of Session, or
any other Court by which such offence is shown in the First Schedule to be triable;
(b) any offence under any other law shall, when any Court is mentioned in this behalf in such law, be tried by such Court and when no Court is so mentioned, may be tried by
the High Court, or
any other Court by which such offence is shown in the First Schedule to be triable.

SECTION 27 – JURISDICTION IN THE CASE OF JUVENILES
The person committing an offence not punishable with death or imprisonment for life shall be tried by a chief judicial magistrate or any other court constituted specially for this purpose under the Children Act, 1960, (60 of 1960) or any other law for the time being in force (ex: Juvenile Justice Act, 2005), only if,
The person under the age of sixteen when the date he appears or is brought before the court.
Provides treatment, training and rehabilitation of youthful offenders
SECTION 28 & 29 – SENTENCES WHICH HIGH COURTS, SESSIONS JUDGES AND MAGISTRATES MAY PASS
A High Court may pass any sentence authorised by law. [S. 28(1)].
A Sessions Judge or an Additional Sessions Judge may pass any sentence authorised by law, but any sentence of death passed by any such judge shall be subject to confirmation by the High Court. [S. 28(2)].
An Assistant Sessions Judge may pass any sentence authorised by law except a sentence of death or of imprisonment for life or of imprisonment for a term exceeding 10 years. [S. 28(3)].
A Chief Judicial Magistrate or a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate may pass any sentence authorised by law except a sentence of death or of imprisonment for life or of imprisonment for a term exceeding seven years. [S. 29(1) r/w S. 29(4)].
A judicial Magistrate of the First Class or a Metropolitan Magistrate may pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or of fine not exceeding five thousand rupees, or of both. [S. 29(a) r/w S. 29(4)]
A Judicial Magistrate of the second class may pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or of fine not exceeding one thousand rupees or both. [S.29(3) r/w S. 29(4)]

CONCLUSION
In our country, all criminal courts constructed in such a way that they are accessible to every citizen at their easiest possible. The jurisdictions of the courts are based on multiple faceted criteria. The functioning of judiciary in an efficient and speedy manner is important for proper maintenance of law and order in society. The courts should meet the consonance of with the minds of the society for trusted governance
KEY POINTS

CLASSIFICATION AND HIERARCHY OF CRIMINAL COURTS AND MAGISTRATES, JURISDICTION, POWERS OF MAGISTRATES AND SENTENCE WHICH A MAGISTRATE CAN PASS UNDER THIS CODE.

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