Section 6 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 provides two types of Magistrates, Judicial and Executive for enforcing the policy of seperation of Judiciary from the Executive.
Article 50 of the Constitution directs the State to take steps to seperate the Executive from the Judiciary in the public services of the State.
Judicial Magistrates are under the control of the High Courts and perform judicial functions. Executive Magistrates are under the control of the State Government and perform police or administrative functions.
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, namely:—
(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.
II. Classes of Criminal Courts
1. Supreme Court
Supreme Court of India is established by the Constitution and it defines its powers and jurisdiction. There are provisions under the Code to appeal to the Supreme COurt in certain matters. The Supreme Court can transfer cases from one High Court to another High Court or from one Criminal Court subordinate to one High Court to another subordinate Criminal Court of other High Court as per Section 406.
406. Power of Supreme Court to transfer cases and appeals.—
(1) Whenever it is made to appear to the Supreme Court that an order under this section is expedient for the ends of justice, it may direct that any particular case or appeal be transferred from one High Court to another High Court or from a Criminal Court subordinate to one High Court to another Criminal Court of equal or superior jurisdiction subordinate to another High Court.
(2) The Supreme Court may act under this section only on the application of the Attorney-General of India or of a party interested, and every such application shall be made by motion, which shall, except when the applicant is the Attorney-General of India or the Advocate-General of the State, be supported by affidavit or affirmation.
(3) Where any application for the exercise of the powers conferred by this section is dismissed, the Supreme Court may, if it is of opinion that the application was frivolous or vexatious, order the applicant to pay by way of compensation to any person who has opposed the application such sum not exceeding one thousand rupees as it may consider appropriate in the circumstances of the case.
2. High Court
High Courts in each state are established by the Constitution and defines their power and jurisdiction. The Code provides High Courts with powers for Reference, Appeal, Revision and Transfer of Cases. High Courts have inherent powers to prevent the abuse of process of any Court to secure ends of Justice. Article 227 of the Constitution provides that every High Court shall have the power to exercise superintendance over all Courts and Tribunals throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction. Section 483 of the Code makes provision for every High Court to exercise superintendence over courts of Judicial Magistrate to ensure an expeditious and proper disposal of cases by such Magistrates.
3. Sessions Courts
According to Section 9, The State Government shall establish a Court of Session for every sessions division. Every Court of Session shall be presided over by a Judge, to be appointed by the High Court. The High Court may also appoint Additional Sessions Judges and Assistant Session Judges to exercise jurisdiction in a Court of Session. Sessions Judge of one Sessions Division may aslo be appointed by High Court as Additional Sessions Judge for another Division. Assistant sessions Judges are subordinate to the Sessions Judge.
A person appointed as a Sessions Judge, Additional Sessions Judge or Assisitant Sessions Judge, would be exercising jurisdiction in the court of Sessions and his judgements and orders would be those of the Court of Session. [Gokaraju Rangaraju v. State of A.P. 1981]
A Civil Judge and Chief Judicial Magistrate while acting as in-charge, Sessions Judge does not have powers of a Sessions Court appointed under Section 9 of the Code for granting bail in serious cases. [State of Karnataka v. Channabasappa 1992]
4. Judicial Magistrates Court
a) Courts or Special Courts of JMFC/JMSC
Courts of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) and Judicial Magistrate Second Class are established in every district by the State Governtment in consultation with the High Court. One or more Magistrate Courts may be established or one or more Special Courts may be established for a local area by the State Governtment in consultation with the High Courts.
b) Chief Judicial Magistrate
According to Section 12(1) 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.
He(The Chief Judicial Magistrate) is head of the Magistracy in the district. [Delhi Judicial Service Assn. v. State of Gujarat 1991]
The main function of the Chief Judicial Magistrate is to guide, supervise and control other Judicial Magistrates in the district and shall also try important cases.
c) Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate
According to Section 12(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.
d) Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate
According to Section 12,
(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.
According to Section 14, subject to the control of the High Court, the Chief Judicial Magistrate may, from time to time, define the local limits of the areas within which the Magistrates appointed under section 11 or under section 13 may exercise all or any of the powers with which they may respectively be invested under this Code
According to Section 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
5. Metropolitan Magistrates Court.
According to Section 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
6. Special Judicial Magistrates and Special Metropolitan Magistrates
According to Section 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, 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) The High Court or the State Government, as the case may be, may empower any Special Metropolitan Magistrate to exercise, in any local area outside the metropolitan area, the powers of a Judicial Magistrate of the first class.
7. Executive Magistrates
According to Section 20,
(1) 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.
(2) The State Government may appoint any Executive Magistrate to be an Additional District Magistrate, and such Magistrate shall have such of the powers of a District Magistrate under this Code or under any other law for the time being in force as may be directed by the State Government.
The State has power to appoint the Commissioner of Police of Birhan, 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. [A.N. Roy v. Suresh Sham Singh 2006]
III. Powers of the courts to pass sentences
According to Section 28, (1) A High Court may pass
any sentence authorised by law.
(2) A Sessions Judge or 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.
(3) 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 ten years.
According to Section 29,
(1) The Court of a Chief Judicial 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.
(2) The Court of a Magistrate of the first class may pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or of fine not exceeding ten thousand rupees, or of both.
(3) The Court of Magistrate of the second class may pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or of fine not exceeding five thousand rupees, or of both.
(4) The Court of a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate shall have the powers of the Court of a Chief Judicial Magistrate and that of a Metropolitan Magistrate, the powers of the Court of a Magistrate of the first class.
IV. Rules as to Punishment
According to Section 30,
(1) The Court of a Magistrate may award such term of imprisonment in default of payment of fine as is authorised by law:
Provided that the term—
(a) is not in excess of the powers of the Magistrate under section 29;
(b) shall not, where imprisonment has been awarded as part of the substantive sentence, exceed one-fourth of the term of imprisonment which the Magistrate is competent to inflict as punishment for the offence otherwise than as imprisonment in default of payment of the fine.
(2) The imprisonment awarded under this section may be in addition to a substantive sentence of imprisonment for the maximum term awardable by the Magistrate under section 29.
According to Section 31,
(1) When a person is convicted at one trial of two or more offences, the Court may, subject to the provisions of section 71 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), sentence him for such offences, to the several punishments prescribed therefor which such Court is competent to inflict; such punishments when consisting of imprisonment to commence the one after the expiration of the other in such order as the Court may direct, unless the Court directs that such punishments shall run concurrently.
(2) In the case of consecutive sentences, it shall not be necessary for the Court by reason only of the aggregate punishment for the several offences being in excess of the punishment which it is competent to inflict on conviction of a single offence, to send the offender for trial before a higher Court:
Provided that— (a) in no case shall such person be sentenced to imprisonment for a longer period than fourteen years;
(b) the aggregate punishment shall not exceed twice the amount of punishment which the Court is competent to inflict for a single offence.
(3) For the purpose of appeal by a convicted person, the aggregate of the consecutive sentences passed against him under this section shall be deemed to be a single sentence.