CrPC Section 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 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.

Simplified Explanation:

Section 20 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, pertains to the appointment of Executive Magistrates by the State Government and delineates certain aspects of their powers and functions. It’s structured into two parts, focusing on different facets of the role of Executive Magistrates. Here’s an explanation of both sub-sections:

  1. Section 20(1) – Appointment of Executive Magistrates:
  • This subsection authorizes the state government to appoint executive magistrates in every district and metropolitan area within the state.
  • Among the Executive Magistrates appointed, one is designated as the District Magistrate (DM) and, in metropolitan areas, as the Commissioner of Police (where such a post is deemed equivalent to that of a DM in executive functions).
  • The State Government also has the discretion to appoint any Executive Magistrate as an Additional District Magistrate (ADM), who can be delegated the powers of the DM as specified by the state government. This allows for a flexible distribution of administrative responsibilities, particularly in larger districts with substantial workloads and administrative demands.
  1. Section 20(2) – Local Jurisdiction of Executive Magistrates:
  • This part specifies that the State Government may define the local jurisdiction of each Executive Magistrate. This jurisdiction is typically limited to specific areas within a district or metropolitan region, allowing for targeted and area-specific law and order administration.
  • It also mentions that every Executive Magistrate shall exercise their powers throughout the local area for which they are appointed, as well as in the adjoining regions, as long as it’s within the same district or metropolitan area. This provision ensures flexibility and the ability to efficiently maintain law and order across neighbouring regions.
  1. Overall Implications:
  • Section 20 lays down the framework for the appointment and functioning of Executive Magistrates, who play a crucial role in maintaining law and order, implementing executive directives, and performing administrative duties related to the criminal justice system.
  • The designation of specific magistrates as ADMs and the clear distinction of their jurisdictional areas provide a structured approach to administrative governance, ensuring that law and order are maintained effectively across diverse and varying geographic regions within a state.
  • This section underscores the importance of a decentralized approach to law enforcement and administration, allowing the State Government to tailor the deployment and responsibilities of Executive Magistrates to the unique needs of different districts and metropolitan areas.

Section 20 plays a vital role in the administrative and executive machinery related to law enforcement and public order within the states of India by setting out the provisions for the appointment of executive magistrates and defining their jurisdiction and potential powers.

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