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Chapter 2 – Constitution Of Criminal Courts And Offices

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, namely:-

  1. Courts of Session;
  2. Judicial Magistrate of the first class and, in any Metropolitan area, Metropolitan Magistrate;
  3. Judicial Magistrate of the second class; and
  4. Executive Magistrates.

Section 7 – Territorial divisions

  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.

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 Sub-Section (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.

Explanation – In this section, the expression “population” means the population as ascertained at the last preceding census of which the relevant figures have been published.

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.
  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.
  6. The Court of Sessions 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.

Explanation – For the purposes of this Code, “appointment” does not include the first appointment, posting or promotion of a person by the Government to any Service, or post in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State, where under any law, such appointment, posting or promotion is required to be made by Government.

Section 10 – Subordination of Assistant Sessions Judges

  1. All Assistant Sessions Judges shall be subordinate to the Sessions Judge in whose Court they exercise jurisdiction.
  2. The Sessions Judges 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.

Section 11 – Courts of Judicial Magistrates

  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:

    Provided that the State Government may, after consultation with the High Court, establish, for any local area, one or more Special Courts of Judicial Magistrate of the first class or of the second class to try any particular case or particular class of cases, and where any such Special Court is established, no other Court of Magistrate in the local area shall have jurisdiction to try any case or class of cases for the trial of which such Special Court of Judicial Magistrate has been established.
  2. The presiding officers of such Courts shall be appointed by the High Courts.
  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.

Section 12 – Chief Judicial Magistrate and Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, etc.

  1. In every district (not being a metropolitan area), the High Court shall appoint a Judicial Magistrate of the first class to the Chief Judicial Magistrate.
  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. -
    1. 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.
    2. 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.

Section 13 – Special Judicial Magistrates

  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 first class or of the second class, in respect to particular cases or to particular classes of cases, in any local area, not being a metropolitan area:

    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 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.
  3. The High Court may empower a Special Judicial Magistrate to exercise the powers of a Metropolitan Magistrate in relation to any metropolitan area outside his local jurisdiction.

Section 14 – Local Jurisdiction of Judicial Magistrates

  1. 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:

    Provided that the Court of a Special Judicial Magistrate may hold its sitting at any place within the local area for which it is established.
  2. Except as otherwise provided by such definition, the jurisdiction and powers of every such Magistrate shall extend throughout the district.
  3. Where the local jurisdiction of a Magistrate, appointed under section 11 or section 13 or section 18, extends to an area beyond the district, or the metropolitan area, as the case may be, in which he ordinarily holds Court, any reference in this Code to the Court of Session, Chief Judicial Magistrate or the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate shall, in relation to such Magistrate, throughout the area within his local jurisdiction, be construed, unless the context otherwise requires, as a reference to the Court of Session, Chief Judicial Magistrate, or Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, as the case may be, exercising jurisdiction in relation to the said district or metropolitan area.

Section 15 – Subordination of Judicial Magistrates

  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.

Section 16 – Courts of Metropolitan Magistrates

  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.

Section 17 – Chief Metropolitan Magistrate and Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate

  1. 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.
  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.

Section 18 – Special Metropolitan Magistrates

  1. The High Court may, if requested by any 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.

Section 19 – Subordination of Metropolitan Magistrates

  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.

Section 20 – Executive Magistrates

  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 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.
  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.

    4A. The State Government may, by general or special order and subject to such control and directions as it may deem fit to impose, delegate its powers under Sub-Section (4) to the District 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.

Section 21 – Special Executive Magistrates

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 Magistrate, as it may deem fit.

Section 22 – Local Jurisdiction of Executive Magistrates

  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.

Section 23 – Subordination of Executive Magistrates

  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.

Section 24 – Public Prosecutors

  1. For every High Court, the Central Government or the State Government shall, after consultation with the High Court, appoint a Public Prosecutor and may also appoint one or more Additional Public Prosecutor, for conducting in such Court, any prosecution, appeal or other proceeding on behalf of the Central Government or State Government, as the case may be.
  2. The Central Government may appoint one or more Public Prosecutors for the purpose of conducting any case or class of cases in any district, or local area.
  3. For every district, the State Government shall appoint a Public Prosecutor and may also appoint one or more Additional Public Prosecutors for the district:

    Provided that the Public Prosecutor or Additional Public Prosecutor appointed for one district may be appointed also to be a Public Prosecutor or an Additional Public Prosecutor, as the case may be, for another district.
  4. The District Magistrate shall, in consultation with the Sessions Judge, prepare a panel of names of persons, who are, in his opinion fit to be appointed as Public Prosecutor or Additional Public Prosecutors for the district.
  5. No person shall be appointed by the State Government as the Public Prosecutor or Additional Public Prosecutor for the district unless his name appears in the panel of names prepared by me District Magistrate under Sub-Section (4).
  6. Notwithstanding anything contained in Sub-Section (5), where in a State there exists a regular Cadre of Prosecuting Officers, the State Government shall appoint a Public Prosecutor or an Additional Public Prosecutor only from among the persons constituting such Cadre:

    Provided that where, in the opinion of the State Government, no suitable person is available in such Cadre for such appointment that Government may appoint a person as Public Prosecutor or Additional Public Prosecutor, as the case may be, from the panel of names prepared by the District Magistrate under Sub-Section (4).

    Explanation – For the purposes of this Sub-Section:

    a) “regular Cadre of Prosecuting Officers” means a Cadre of Prosecuting Officers which includes therein the post of a Public Prosecutor, by whatever name called, and which provides for promotion of Assistant Public Prosecutors, by whatever name called, to that post;

    b) “Prosecuting Officer” means a person, by whatever name called, appointed to perform the functions of a Public Prosecutor, an Additional Public Prosecutor or an Assistant Public Prosecutor under this Code.
  7. A person shall be eligible to be appointed as a Public Prosecutor or an Additional Public Prosecutor under Sub-Section (1) or Sub-Section (2) or Sub-Section (3) or Sub-Section (6), only if he has been in practice as an advocate for not less than seven years.
  8. The Central Government or the State Government may appoint, for the purposes of any case or class of cases, a person who has been in practice as an advocate for not less than ten years as a Special Public Prosecutor.

    Provided that the Court may permit the victim to engage an advocate of his choice to assist the prosecution under this sub-section.
  9. For the purposes of Sub-Section (7) and Sub-Section (8), the period during which a person has been in practice as a pleader, or has rendered (whether before or after the commencement of this Code) service as a Public Prosecutor or as an Additional Public Prosecutor or Assistant Public Prosecutor or other Prosecuting Officer, by whatever name called, shall be deemed to be the period during which such person has been in practice as an advocate.

Section 25 – Assistant Public Prosecutors

  1. The State Government shall appoint in every district one or more Assistant public Prosecutors for conducting prosecutions in the Courts of Magistrates.

    1A. The Central Government may appoint one or more Assistant Public Prosecutors for the purpose of conducting any case or class of cases in the Courts of Magistrates.
  2. Save as otherwise provided in Sub-Section (3), no police officer shall be eligible to be appointed as an Assistant Public Prosecutor.
  3. Where no Assistant Public Prosecutor is available for the purposes of any particular case, the District Magistrate may appoint any other person to be the Assistant Public Prosecutor in charge of that case:

    Provided that a police officer shall not be so appointed-
    1. if he has taken any part in the investigation into the offence with respect to which the accused is being prosecuted; or
    2. if he is below the rank of Inspector.

Section 25A – Directorate of Prosecution

  1. The State Government may establish a Directorate of Prosecution consisting of a Director of Prosecution and as many Deputy Directors of Prosecution as it thinks fit.
  2. A person shall be eligible to be appointed as a Director of Prosecution or a Deputy Director of Prosecution, only if he has been in practice as an advocate for not less than ten years and such appointment shall be made with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the High Court.
  3. The Head of the Directorate of Prosecution shall be the Director of Prosecution, who shall function under the administrative control of the Head of the Home Department in the State.
  4. Every Deputy Director of Prosecution shall be subordinate to the Director of Prosecution.
  5. Every Public Prosecutor, Additional Public Prosecutor and Special Public Prosecutor appointed by the State Government under Sub-Section (1), or as the case may be, Sub-Section (8), of section 24 to conduct cases in the High Court shall be subordinate to the Director of Prosecution.
  6. Every Public Prosecutor, Additional Public Prosecutor and Special Public Prosecutor appointed by the State Government under Sub-Section (3), or as the case may be, Sub-Section (8), of section 24 to conduct cases in District Courts and every Assistant Public Prosecutor appointed under Sub-Section (1) of section 25 shall be subordinate to the Deputy Director of Prosecution.
  7. The powers and functions of the Director of Prosecution and the Deputy Directors of Prosecution and the areas for which each of the Deputy Directors of Prosecution have been appointed shall be such as the State Government may, by notification, specify.
  8. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the Advocate General for the State while performing the functions of a Public Prosecutor.