Executive Magistrates in India

Under Code of Criminal Procedure -1973 [Ch-2]

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 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.
( 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.

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.

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.

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.

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  1. Section 20 as quoted above plainly consists of three parts. The first part deals with the power of the State Government to appoint as many persons as it thinks fit to be EXECUTIVE MAGISTRATEs and to appoint one of them to be the District MAGISTRATE. The second part empowers the State Government to appoint any EXECUTIVE MAGISTRATE to be an Additional District MAGISTRATE and such MAGISTRATE shall have the powers of a District MAGISTRATE under the Code or under any other law for the time being in force as may be directed by the Government. The third part is sub-section (5) of Section 20 which empowers the State Government for 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.
  2. Very fact that in case of Commissioner of Police and that too restricted in the metropolitan area, a specific provision has been made in sub-section (5) in spite of a general provision being there in sub-section (1) empowering the State Government to appoint any person as an EXECUTIVE MAGISTRATE, that itself discloses the intention of the Legislature to classify the Commissioner of Police to be different from the person who can be appointed as an EXECUTIVE MAGISTRATE in exercise of the powers under sub-section (1). Otherwise, there was absolutely no need of incorporating a specific provision under sub-section (5) in relation to Commissioner of Police. Otherwise, even in the absence of sub-section (5) a Commissioner of Police could have been appointed as an EXECUTIVE MAGISTRATE. The Legislature in its wisdom, however, has excluded the office of the Commissioner of Police under sub-section (1) while reserving the power to the State Government to confer the powers of an EXECUTIVE MAGISTRATE upon the Commissioner of Police in relation to a metropolitan area. In other words, it discloses that in case of the office of the Commissioner of Police only all or any of the powers of an EXECUTIVE MAGISTRATE can be conferred upon him and that too in relation to a metropolitan area but the Commissioner of Police cannot be appointed as an EXECUTIVE MAGISTRATE. The appointment of a person in an office is different from the conferment of powers attached to an office upon the person. In fact the decision sought to be relied up by the learned A.P.P., rather than assisting the contention on the part of the respondents, justifies the view that we are taking in the matter.
  3. Reading sub-sections (1), (2) and (5) of Section 20 in conjunction, it can be stated, that the State has power to appoint the Commissioner of Police of Brihan Bombay as an EXECUTIVE MAGISTRATE and further appoint him as an Additional District MAGISTRATE, who shall have the powers of District MAGISTRATE for the purposes of Sections 18 and 20 of the Act. 25. The State Government shall now appoint the Commissioner of Police as an EXECUTIVE MAGISTRATE in Brihan Bombay and shall further appoint him as an Additional District MAGISTRATE, who shall have the powers of District MAGISTRATE for the purposes of Sections 18 and 20 of the Act.

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