Magisterial Duties

Criminal Justice in Agency Areas :

Summons Cases and Warrant Cases
Committal Proceedings
Compoundable Offences
Remand
Bails

In scheduled tracks of Andhra Pradesh there is no separation of judiciary and executive as such the Executive Officers have the judicial functions to perform. In these Agency areas, for the time being the Cr.P.C.1898 (Old Cr.P.C.) is in vogue. All the Mandal Revenue Officers exercising the judicial functions in agency areas are 2nd class Magistrates.

The powers of the Magistrate of 2nd class is indicated under Schedule III, II of Cr.P.C.1898. With regard to competence of Magistrates of 2nd class to try offences, Schedules II of Cr.P.C.1898 is to be looked into with reference to Column 8. Such are the offences triable by Magistrate indicated in Col 8 of Schedule II are to be tried by the Mandal Revenue Officers in the capacity of 2nd class Magistrates in Agency areas.

The Courts of Magistrates may pass the following sentences

(Section 32 of Cr.P.C.1898)

1)

Courts of Presidency Magistrate and or Magistrates of Ist order.

Imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, including such solitary confinement as is authorised by Law. Fine not exceeding two thousand rupees.

2)

Courts of Magistrates of the Second order.

Imprisonment for a term not exceeding Six months, including such solitary confinements as is authorised by Law. Fine not exceeding Five Hundred Rupees.


     The Mandal Revenue Officers in Agency as Executive Magistrates cannot invoke powers U/s. 107, 108, 109, 145 & 146 of the Cr.P.C. But they can exercise powers U/s. 144 Cr.P.C.

SUMMONS CASES AND WARRANT CASES

Summons Case : means a case relating to an offence and not being a warrant case.

Warrant Case : means a case relating to an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

Trail : In trail of cases, there are 3 procedures viz.,

(1)     Summary trial

(2)     Summons trial

(3)     Warrant trial.

Summary Trial : In summary trial, it is sufficient to record the substance of evidence and may dispense with the examination of the accused u/s 342 Cr.P.C. (Section 260 Cr.P.C. 1898 under Chapter XXII).

Summons Trial : Procedure for Summons trial is given under Chapter XX of the Code of Section 241 to 250 Cr.P.C.1898.

When the accused appears or is brought before the Magistrate, the particulars of the offence of which he is accused shall be stated to him, and he shall be asked if he has any cause to show why he should not be convicted; but it shall not be necessary to frame a formal charge.

Warrant Cases : (Chapter XXI of the Code Section 251 to 259)

Procedure U/s 251, Cr.P.C.1898 is deals with private complaints and it is known as private warrant procedure. In this procedure, on the evidence produced, the Magistrate frames a charge under the appropriate provisions of law. The accused has a right to cross examine the witnesses before charge or after charge. The accused can waive the right of further cross-examination after the charge.

U/s 251 of the Code, the procedure to be adopted in cases instituted on Police report is given. Since prosecution Agency investigates the case, on examination of the accused, charge is framed based on the record available.

The difference between procedure U/s 251 and 251-A is only that of relating to framing of charge under both sections, opportunity has to be given to both the sides to argue for discharge.

COMMITTAL PROCEEDINGS (CHAPTER XVIII)

Under Chapter XVIII, old Cr.P.C. procedure of inquiry into cases triable by the court of Sessions or High Court is indicated. Here also, the proceedings can be started either on private complaint or on a police report.

U/s. 207-A of the Code, after report is filed U/s 173 Cr.P.C. by a police officer, the accused is supplied with document and the prosecution examines witnesses to the occurrence to establish prima-facie case against the accused. Based on the material available and on hearing both sides, Charges are to be framed either under one head or under two or more heads under Schedule V in forms XXVIII (1) and (2) respectively. The accused are to be supplied with copy of Charge under seal and signature of the Magistrate. On being satisfied that a prima-facie case is made out, the Magistrate has to commit the accused for trial to the Court of Sessions to take the trial. The Magistrate has to commit the accused for trial subject to provisions of the court regarding the taking of bail, warrant to custody as laid down u/s. 207-A (16). A committal order is to be passed bringing out the brief history of the case, evidence adduced before him and the fact of considering both the evidence and record. It shall also contain the stages of the enquiry like supply of documents, framing of charges etc. The Magistrate has to ascertain from the accused during his examination whether he is competent to defend him self or "Legal Aid" to be provided. He should also ascertain whether the accused has any defense and the particulars of the witnesses if stated or inform the accused that he can furnish the information before the Sessions Court. The Magistrate should not give any findings on the facts since it is only an enquiry at committal stage.

Only with the committal of the accused by a Magistrate, the Sessions Court will have the jurisdiction to try the accused. This procedure is envisaged to save the valuable time of the Sessions Court and High Court.

Compoundable Offences :

Certain offences under I.P.C. are compoundable U/s 345 Cr.P.C. (Old Cr.P.C.). Those offences indicated U/s 345 (1) Cr.P.C. can be compounded with out the permission of the court by the persons indicated in the sub-section. The other offences covered under Section 345(2) Cr.P.C. of the Code are to be compounded with the permission of the court by the persons indicated in sub-sections.

Remand :

Individuals will be produced for remand before a Magistrate, if the police cannot complete investigation within 24 hours as laid down U/s 167 Cr.P.C. along with remand report. When the accused is produced, it is the duty of the Magistrate to question him whether he was subjected to any harassment by the police before granting remand. The period of remand should not exceed 15 days.

BAILS :

The procedure for granting bails is indicated in Chapter XXXIX of the Code. Section 496 Cr.P.C. deals with bailable offences and Section 447 Cr.P.C. deals with non-bailable offences.

In bailable offences, on arrest, even police officer can grant bail. In bails U/s 497 Cr.P.C. of the Code, the opinion of prosecution if any is to be heard by giving a notice either to the prosecutor or the Station House Officer concerned. A bail may be granted with or without sureties subject to the satisfaction of the Magistrate about the attendance of the accused before him for subsequent proceedings. In non-bailable cases, it is discretion of the Magistrate. In bailable cases, it is a right of the accused. Discretion is to be exercised judiciously as liberty of the individual is a constitutional right. The bail conditions if any should not be improper in relation to status and means of the accused. When bail is granted with conditions that cannot be fulfilled, it tantamount to denying the bail. Even in P.R.C. cases, the Magistrate can exercise his discretion in granting the bail, if offence is not objectionable with death or imprisonment for life but as a matter of prudence, it is left to the discretion of the Sessions Court.

M.R.O's in Agency areas shall also function as Judicial Magistrates exercising II class powers. They can discharge the functions of a II class Magistrate. They can entertain and try the cases under sections 135 to 147, 153 to 160, 165, 170,172 to 180, 182 to 190, 202, 203, 206, 217, 225B, 254, 262, 264 to 280, 282 to 291, 294, 294A, 295 to 298, 309, 323, 334 to 347, 352 to 358, 379 to 381, 384, 385, 403 to 406, 408, 414, 417, 418, 421 to 432, 434, 45 to 454, 456, 457, 461, 462, 482, 483, 486 to 489, 491, 498, 504, 508, 510 and 511 of Indian Penal Code.

The cases u/s's 302,307,333,395,436 and other sections or be tried in Sessions Court, have to be taken on file, the witnesses examined after framing charges and the case to be committed to Sessions if there is a primafacie case and a decision sent to the sessions court within five days from the date of decision.

Note : The court of a llnd Class Magistrate may pass a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding a term of one year or fine not exceeding a sum of Rs.1000/- or both, subject to the provisions of the I.P.C.

In every case, there are three factors to be taken into consideration for determining the appropriate punishment.

i) Motive:

ii) Magnitude of the Offence : and

iii) Character of the accused.

Award of sentence is a discretion of the judge which cannot be capricious or arbitrary.

In default of payment of fine, the Magistrate is competent to inflict 1/4th of the term of imprisonment, which he is competent to inflict, as punishment for the offence, in addition to the substantive sentence of imprisonment.

Benefit of doubt must always go in favour of the accused. Doctrine of mensrea should invariably be considered and assessed.

FORMS

For Office use:

Form of Inquest.

Bond for good behaviour

Section 500 Cr PC

For Citizen Use:

Bond and Bail Bond after arrest under a warrant.