CrPC 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.
    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.

Simplified Explanation:

Section 12 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1973 pertains to the appointment and powers of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) and other Judicial Magistrates. Here’s a breakdown of its main components:

  1. Appointment of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM): The CJM is appointed by the High Court. The CJM holds a pivotal position in the judicial system within a district, overseeing the administration of criminal justice and the functioning of other Judicial Magistrates.
  2. Powers of the CJM: The CJM is vested with the authority to try any case that a Magistrate of the first class can try. This encompasses many criminal matters, allowing the CJM to handle severe cases directly. Moreover, the CJM has supervisory powers over other Magistrates in the district, ensuring coherence and efficiency in the administration of justice.
  3. Appointment of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM): The High Court is also empowered to appoint Additional Chief Judicial Magistrates. The ACJM assists the CJM in their duties and can perform all the functions of a CJM. This role is crucial for effectively distributing the workload and ensuring justice is administered promptly.
  4. Appointment of Judicial Magistrates: The High Court appoints Judicial Magistrates of the first class and second class in each district. These magistrates handle most criminal cases, performing trials and pre-trial proceedings as the law prescribes.
  5. Subordination and Control: All Judicial Magistrates within a district are subordinate to the CJM. This subordination ensures a structured and hierarchical administration of the criminal justice system, with the CJM at the helm for guidance, supervision, and control.
  6. Special Judicial Magistrates: The High Court has the authority to appoint Special Judicial Magistrates for specific situations or needs. These appointments can address particular legal challenges or case backlogs, providing flexibility in the judicial process.

Section 12 establishes a structured hierarchy for the administration of criminal justice at the district level, with the CJM playing a central role. This structure ensures a transparent chain of command and accountability among the magistrates, facilitating efficient and effective judicial proceedings in criminal matters.

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