POWER AND HIERARCHY OF CRIMINAL COURTS
BY: TUSHAR RAI 05/05/2021
Article 124 of The Indian Constitution states the establishment of the Supreme Court and it should be considered as the apex court of the country where it followed by 24 High Courts. From Article 124 to 147 of the Indian Constitution provides the powers and its jurisdiction of Supreme Court of India. Article 214 of Constitution provides for the establishment of the high court in every state. The Constitution has set up a hierarchy of courts for the administration of justice. The Indian Judiciary has the power to interpret, make compulsory enforcing of the law and provides procedures regarding the punishment and reformation of the offenders from the offence they committed.
Article 236 of the Indian Constitution explains about the District Judge and Judicial Service and it has much consideration before the court for the various circumstance with a different perspective. In H.R. Deb, The Supreme Court made a differentiation between judicial service and office with the judgement that the judicial office is more important than the judicial discharge. Section 5 – 25 deals with the Constitution and hierarchy of criminal courts.
Hierarchy of Criminal Courts
1) Supreme Court: Supreme Court is the apex court of the country as well as the highest constitutional court. Under Article 32 of Indian Constitution, it has the writ jurisdiction, any violation in the fundamental rights provided in the Constitution can approach the supreme court by filing writ before the Supreme Court. Article 131, it states the original jurisdiction and Article 141 states the advisory jurisdiction. The Apex Court is the highest appeal court, under Article 134 of the Constitution an appeal lies to the Supreme Court from the judgement or sentence of High Court in a criminal case and it has the power to pass any order or sentence by law.
2) High Court: In every State of the Country, there is a High Court which stands as the head of the judiciary in the State. Under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution, it has the writ jurisdiction beside from the administrative jurisdiction. The Criminal Procedure Court,1973 provides appellate as well as revisional jurisdiction to the High Courts. By Article215 of The Indian Constitution, the High Court has the original jurisdiction in both the civil and criminal cases.
According to Section28 of Criminal Procedure Code, the High Court can pass any sentence that is authorised by law and a Sessions judge or additional Sessions judge can pass any sentence which authorised by law, but any death sentence is passed then the confirmation by the High Court is required.
3) Court of Session: Article 236(a) of Indian Constitution explains that district judges include judge of civil court, additional district judge, joint district judge, assistant district judge, joint district judge, assistant district judge, sessions judge, additional sessions judge and assistant sessions judge. By Section 9 of Code of Criminal Procedure the State required to establish a Court of Sessions for every Sessions Division. The High Court has the power to appoint the Sessions Court Judge and the Sessions Judge can pass any sentence authorized by law. However, a death sentence can be passed on the confirmation of the High Court.
In Gokaraju Rangaraju the Court held that the judgement made by Sessions Court cannot be challenged on the reason that his appointment was invalid as it was made in violation of Article 233. The High Court can appoint Additional Sessions Judge for the functioning of powers of Sessions Judge where a Sessions Judge can pass any sentence authorized by law and in the passing of death sentence, it subject to confirmation of High Court. An Assistant Sessions Judge can pass any sentence authorized by law except a sentence of death or imprisonment for life or of imprisonment for a term exceeding ten years. The Assistant Sessions Judge is considered to be subordinate to the Sessions Court Judge. In M.B Binjor v. Bhan Singh, it held that for exercising the revisional jurisdiction, the Court of Assistant Sessions Judge is inferior to the Court of Session Judge.
4) Chief Judicial Magistrate and Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate: By Section 12 of Code of Criminal Procedure Code, the High Court appoints every district a Judicial Magistrate of first-class as Chief Judicial Magistrate. The High Court can also appoint Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate. They have the power to pass a sentence of imprisonment up to seven years and fine of any amount authorized by law .In Mahesh Chand v. State of Rajasthan, it was held that Chief Judicial Magistrate is competent to take cognizance of offence that committed anywhere in his district, and if the offence is committed under the local jurisdiction of some other Judicial Magistrate with the police complaint or police report presented before the court Chief Judicial Magistrate.
5) Judicial Magistrate of First Class: The Judicial Magistrate of First Class, is appointed and controlled by High CourtThe Judge Can pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years and of fine not exceeding Rs.10,000/-.
6) Judicial Magistrate of Second Class: The State Government in consultation with High Court can establish Second Class Judicial Magistrates Court. The Judge of the Court will be appointed by the High Court and they have the power to pass sentence of imprisonment that not exceeding one year and fine amount not exceeding Rs.5000/-.
7) Executive Magistrate: The Executive Magistrate is appointed and controlled by the State Government. Under Section 22 of Cr.P.C, the power of executive magistrate extends in the district or metropolitan area. The executive magistrate can discharge the executive functions that is the safeguarding of law.
Public Prosecutor And Assistant Public Prosecutor
By Section 24 and Section 25 of the Code deals with the appointment of Public Prosecutors and Assistant Public Prosecutors. The Central and State Government have the authority to appoint prosecutors for conducting prosecution and other criminal proceedings in High Court, Sessions Court or Court of Magistrate.