Jurisdiction of Courts with respect to Criminal Casess
To ensure that justice is served to the one whose right has been infringed, the Constitution of India gave the judiciary system. To ensure that the judiciary is working in an efficient manner, various courts having different powers were established. Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (hereinafter referred as CrPC) under Section 6, directs that beside High Courts in every state the following criminal courts will be established:
- Courts of Session
- Metropolitan Magistrate in any Metropolitan area
- Judicial Magistrate of the first class in areas other than Metropolitan area
- Executive Magistrate
Court of Session
As per Section 7 of CrPC, every state will have session division and the number of such division will be decided by State Government after consulting the High Court. Section 9 of CrPC, states that the State Government will have to establish a Court of Session for every session’s division which shall be presided by a Judge and he will be appointed by the High Court. Further, the High Court can also appoint Additional Session Judge and Assistant Session Judge.
The Assistant or Additional Session Judge appointed by the High Court will be subordinate to their respective Sessions Judge who will distribute the work among them. Session Judge can make rules with respect to the additional and assistant judges but they must be consistent with the Code. [Section 9]
A Sessions Judge and Additional Sessions Judge can pass any sentence that is authorised by law but, in case of death sentence confirmation of High Court is required. An Assistant Sessions Judge can pass any sentence excluding sentence of death or imprisonment for life or for a term exceeding ten years. [Section 28]
Court of Metropolitan Magistrate
Areas having population more than one million and notified by the State Government are Metropolitan areas. The area of Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Ahmedabad are the areas that are mentioned in the Code as Metropolitan Areas. [Section 8]
As per Section 16, the State Government after consulting the High Court will establish as many courts of Metropolitan Magistrates as it may deem fit in the Metropolitan Area. The High Court will appoint the presiding officer and the jurisdiction of the officer will extend throughout the metropolitan area.
Under Section 17, High Court will appoint a Metropolitan Magistrate as Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) for a particular area. High Court can also appoint any Metropolitan Magistrate as Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.
The CMM and every Additional CMM will be subordinate to the Sessions Judge. Every other Metropolitan Magistrate will be subordinate to CMM and the extent of the subordination will be defined by the High Court. Further, the CMM can make rules consistent with the Code and can also distribute the work among the Metropolitan Magistrate. [Section 19]
CMM may pass any sentence authorised by the law except a sentence of death or of imprisonment for life or a term exceeding seven years whereas a Metropolitan Magistrate can pass a sentence for a term not exceeding three years or fine not exceeding five thousand rupees or both. [Section 29]
Court of Judicial Magistrate
As per Section 7, each division is divided into districts and the State Government in every district after consultation with the High Court will establish as many Courts of Judicial Magistrates of First Class and Second Class as it may deem fit. The presiding officer of such Courts shall be appointed by the High Court. [Section 11]
In every district a Judicial Magistrate of First Class (JMFC) will be appointed as a Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) under Section 12 of CrPC. The High Court can also appoint any JMFC to be an Additional CJM.
As per Section 15, a CJM will be subordinate to the Sessions Judge and the other Judicial Magistrate will be subordinate to CJM, subject to general control of Sessions Judge. Also, the CJM can make rules consistent with this Code and can distribute the work among the Judicial Magistrate subordinate to him.
CJM may pass any sentence authorised by law except a sentence of death or of imprisonment for life or a term exceeding seven years whereas a JMFC can pass a sentence for a term not exceeding three years or fine not exceeding five thousand rupees or both. Judicial Magistrate of Second Class can pass a sentence of imprisonment wherein the term will not be exceeding one year and in terms of fine, the amount will not exceed one thousand rupees, or of both. [Section 29]
Court of Executive Magistrate
Under Section 20, the State Government in every district and in every metropolitan area will appoint as many Executive Magistrates as it thinks fit and shall appoint one of them as District Magistrate (DM). The State Government can also appoint any Executive Magistrate as an Additional District Magistrate (ADM) who will have same power as that of a DM.
The DM subject to the control of State Government will define the local limits in which the Executive Magistrate can exercise their power.
Every Executive Magistrate other than ADM will be subordinate to the DM and every Executive Magistrate exercising power in a Sub-division shall also be subordinate to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, subject to the general control of DM. [Section 23]
As per Section 3(4)(b), the matters which are administrative or executive in nature will be exercisable by an Executive Magistrate.
The order that can be passed by an Executive Magistrate will be either administrative or executive in nature and hence it will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case.
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