CrPC Section 8: Metropolitan areas

  1. The State Government may, by notification, declare that, as from such date as may be specified in the notification, any area in the State comprising a city or town whose population exceeds one million shall be a metropolitan area for the purposes of this Code.
  2. As from the commencement of this Code, each of the Presidency-towns of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras and the city of Ahmedabad shall be deemed to be declared under Sub-Section (1) to be a metropolitan area.
  3. The State Government may, by notification, extend, reduce or alter the limits of a metropolitan area but the reduction or alteration shall not be so made as to reduce the population of such area to less than one million.
  4. Where, after an area has been declared, or deemed to have been declared to be, a metropolitan area, the population of such area falls below one million, such area shall, on and from such date as the State Government may, by notification, specify in this behalf, cease to be a metropolitan area; but notwithstanding such cesser, any inquiry, trial or appeal pending immediately before such cesser before any Court or Magistrate in such area shall continue to be dealt with under this Code, as if such cesser had not taken place.
  5. Where the State Government reduces or alters, under Sub-Section (3), the limits of any metropolitan area, such reduction or alteration shall not affect any inquiry, trial or appeal pending immediately before such reduction or alteration before any Court or Magistrate, and every such inquiry, trial or appeal shall continue to be dealt with under this Code as if such reduction or alteration had not taken place.

Explanation – In this section, the expression “population” means the population as ascertained at the last preceding census of which the relevant figures have been published.

Simplified Explanation:

Section 8 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, deals with establishing and sealing Metropolitan areas. This provision is particularly relevant in the context of urban centres in India, recognizing the unique legal and administrative needs of densely populated metropolitan regions. Here’s a breakdown of its key components:

  • Metropolitan Areas: This section authorizes the State Government, through a notification in the Official Gazette, to declare any area within the State as a “Metropolitan area” if such area has a population of over one million (10 lakhs). This declaration is based on the census figures.
  • Appointment of Metropolitan Magistrates: This section provides for the appointment of metropolitan magistrates to administer criminal justice within these metropolitan areas. This is in contrast to non-metropolitan areas, where Judicial Magistrates operate.
  • Chief Metropolitan Magistrate: Each Metropolitan area has a provision for appointing a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate and such Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrates as the High Court may deem necessary. The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate heads the team of Metropolitan Magistrates and is responsible for the efficient functioning of the courts within the Metropolitan area.
  • Special Provisions for Metropolitan Areas: Establishing metropolitan areas under Section 8 leads to applying specific CrPC provisions tailored to the unique challenges and requirements of administering justice in densely populated urban centres. This includes modifications to the powers of the police and magistrates, procedures for trialling cases, and the management of courts to ensure expedited and effective handling of criminal matters.

The creation of Metropolitan areas and the designation of Metropolitan Magistrates under Section 8 reflect the CrPC’s adaptability to different geographic and demographic contexts. It acknowledges that urban areas, with their high population density and unique socio-economic dynamics, require a specialized approach to criminal administration, providing a legal framework that facilitates streamlined and effective justice delivery in India’s major urban centres.

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