Classes of criminal courts in India

Classes of criminal courts

In Indian courts, there are various classes of criminal courts in India that have been settled for justice. Here, we will discuss the Classes of criminal courts in India by the hierarchy of criminal courts and after that powers of criminal courts in India. Let’s discuss all of them.

Hierarchy of Criminal courts

The Hierarchy of Criminal courts in India is given under the CrPC:

  1. Courts of Session
  2. Judicial Magistrate of First class, or Metropolitan Magistrate in the metropolitan area
  3. Judicial Magistrate of Second class
  4. Executive Magistrates.

Metropolitan Areas-

Section 8 of the CrPC deals with metropolitan areas. The state government declares a city or a town as a metropolitan area whose population is more than one million. The State Government has also the power to alter, increase, or reduce the limits of metropolitan areas.

Where the population of a metropolitan area decreases below one million, that area will cease to be a metropolitan area, but the cases which are still pending before the metropolitan magistrate in such area shall be continued under CrPC. Also, the alteration or reduction of the boundaries of the metropolitan area will not affect the continuance of inquiry, appeal, or trial.

Court of Session

Section 9 of CRPC deals with the Court of Session, according to section 9, the State government establishes the Court of Session in every session division. The High Court appoints the presiding judge for the Court of Session. The session judge can be the additional judge for another session division also. He can sit for the disposal of cases at such a place as an additional session judge as the High court may direct.

The section also provided that if the office of the session judge is vacant, the high court gives the power to the additional or assistant session judge for the urgent disposal of the cases. Also, where no additional or assistant session judge, the chief judicial magistrate shall deal will the cases, and every such judge, who deals shall have the jurisdiction to deal with the cases as the power of session judge.

The session court ordinarily holds its sitting at the place which is specified by High court, but the session court may also sit in another place for the disposal of cases.

Subordination of assistant session judges

According to section 10 of CRPC, all the assistant session judges shall be subordinate to the session Judge. The session judge holds the power to distribute the cases among such assistant session judges.

Courts of Judicial Magistrates

In a district that is not a metropolitan area, the state government establishes the many courts of Judicial Magistrates of first-class and second class after the consultation of High Court. The High Court appoints the presiding officers for such courts.

Chief Judicial Magistrate and additional chief judicial Magistrate

The high court appoints the judicial magistrate first class as the chief judicial magistrate in every district not being a metropolitan area. The High court may also appoint the Judicial magistrate first class as an additional chief judicial magistrate.

Section-15- Subordination of Judicial Magistrate

Every chief judicial magistrate is subordinate to the Session Judge and other Judicial Magistrates are subordinate to the Chief Judicial Magistrate.

Classes and powers of criminal court

Courts of metropolitan magistrates

According to section 16 of the CRPC, the state government has the power to establish the courts of metropolitan magistrates with the consultation of High court. The High Court shall appoint the presiding officers for the courts of metropolitan magistrates. The metropolitan magistrates shall have jurisdiction throughout the metropolitan area. The High court may also appoint a metropolitan magistrate to be a chief metropolitan magistrate or additional metropolitan magistrate.

Executive magistrate

The State government may appoint the executive magistrates in every district and metropolitan area and shall also appoint one of them to be a district magistrate.

The state government shall also appoint any executive magistrate as an additional district magistrate. He shall have such powers as of a District Magistrate under CRPC.

Powers of Criminal Courts

Let’s discuss the different powers of criminal courts in India.

Supreme Court jurisdiction is only for interpretation of statute and protection of fundamental rights.

The jurisdiction in the case of juveniles

The offence which is not punishable with death or life imprisonment, committed by the person who is under the age of sixteen years, may be tried in the court of a chief judicial magistrate.

High courts

High court may pass any sentence which is authorized by law.

Session Judge

  • Session judge and additional session judge may pass any sentence given under the law, but the sentence of death shall be the subject to the confirmation by the High Court under section 366.
  • The assistant session judge has the power to give the sentence of punishment for 10 years and justified fine or both.

Chief judicial magistrate

The chief judicial magistrate has power to given imprisonment of 7 years and justified fine or both

Judicial magistrate first class

JM first class has power to given imprisonment of 3 years and fine not exceeding ten thousand rupees or both.

Judicial magistrate second class

Judicial Magistrate’s second class has power to given imprisonment of 1 year and fine not exceeding 5 thousand rupees or both.

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