Power Of Court Under CrPC

The judicial system has been established in such a way so that it caters the need of each and every person of the country. The Judicial system in India is in the form of a pyramid, with the Supreme Court being at the top of the hierarchy.  The hierarchy has been created in a manner that it is possible for a person even from a remote area to approach the courts to get their disputes resolved. The system is well equipped to deal with issues of the Union as well as State laws.

The Apex Court-

The Supreme Court is the ultimate court, at the top of the Judicial system. It has the supreme judicial authority in our country.

 The High Courts-

  • Original Jurisdiction – In some issues, the case can be directly filed in the High Courts. This is known as the original jurisdiction of the High Court. E.g., In matters related to fundamental rights, Marriage and Divorce cases.
  • Appellate Jurisdiction- The High Court is the Appellate Court for the cases coming up from the trial court.
  • Supervisory Jurisdiction- This refers to the power of general superintendence of the High Court over the matters of all the subordinate courts.

The powers of the various courts have been highlighted in the Constitution of India. Apart from these courts, the power and functions of the subordinate criminal courts have been provided under the Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973, as mentioned under section 6.

  •  Court of Session
  •  First Class Judicial Magistrate and, a metropolitan magistrate in  any metropolitan area
  •  Second Class Judicial Magistrate
  • Executive Magistrates

The power of the various subordinate courts is mentioned from section 26-35, under the Code of Criminal Procedure, which has been described below.

Section 26 mentions the list of Courts which are eligible to try offences – According to Section 26, any offence mentioned under the Indian Penal Code may be tried by:

  • the High Court
  • the Court of Session
  • any other Court as specified in the First Schedule of the Code of Criminal Procedure

Although it has to be ensured that any offence committed under section 376, section 376A, section 376B, section 376C, section 376D and also section 376E of the Indian Penal Code, be tried by a woman judge.

3. The Sessions Court-

The State Government establishes the Sessions Court which has to be presided by a Judge appointed by the High Court. The High Court appoints Additional as well as Assistant Sessions Judges. The Court of Sessions ordinarily sits at such place or places as ordered by the High Court.

4. The Magistrate Court-

The Magistrate judges are usually appointed by the High Court.

The jurisdiction in case of Juveniles (Section 27)– Any person who is below the age of sixteen years, who is a juvenile is exempted from the death penalty and punishment for imprisonment for life. The Chief Judicial Magistrate, or any other Court specially empowered under the Children Act, 1960 (60 of 1960) or any other law for the time being in force which provides for the treatment, training and rehabilitation of youthful offenders, are eligible for trying such cases.

Sentences which can be passed by the various courts-

  1. Sentences which the High Courts and Sessions Judges (Section 28) can pass the following sentences.
  • Any sentence authorised by law can be passed by the High Court.
  • A sessions or additional sessions Judge has the authority to pass any sentence authorised by law. But, while passing death sentence prior permission from High Court is required.
  • An Assistant Sessions Judge has the authority to pass any sentence which has been authorised by law. Such judge cannot pass a death sentence, life imprisonment or imprisonment for more than 10 years.
  1. Sentences passed by the Magistrates (Section 29) – The Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate is authorised to pass any sentence approved by law except for death sentence, life imprisonment or imprisonment for more than seven years.
  • The first class Magistrate is eligible to pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term of not more than three years, or fine not exceeding ten thousand rupees or both.
  • The Second Class Magistrate may pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term not more than one year, or fine or both. The fine imposed cannot exceed five thousand rupees.
  • The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate has the powers of that of a Chief Judicial Magistrate as well as that of a Metropolitan Magistrate, in addition to the powers of the First Class Magistrate.

3. The sentence for default of fine (Section 30)–  According to this section, the Magistrate has the power to pass imprisonment for default of payment of fine as specified by law. But the following conditions need to be satisfied.

  • The term should not go beyond the ambit of the powers of the Magistrate (under section 29).
  • The term should not exceed one-fourth of the term of imprisonment which the Magistrate is competent to award only if imprisonment awarded, is a  part of the substantive sentence as punishment for the offence.
  • The imprisonment sentenced under this section may be in addition to a substantive sentence of imprisonment for the maximum term awardable by the Magistrate under section 29.
  • The sentence in cases of conviction of several offences at one trial (Section 31)– According to this section, when a person is convicted for two or more offences, at one trial,  the Court may sentence him for such offence in one trial, subject to the provisions of section 71.
  • The imprisonment should not exceed a term of fourteen years.
  • the aggregate punishment also shall not exceed twice the amount of punishment which the Court is competent to inflict for a single offence.

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