Powers of Courts - 


Section 26 to 35 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 speaks about Powers of Courts.

1) Courts by which offenses are triable


According to Section 26 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, subject to the other provisions of this Code.-

(a) any offense under the Indian Penal Code(45 of 1860) may be tried by -

           (i) the High Court, or

          (ii) the Court of Session, or

          (iii) any other Court by which such offense is shown in the First Schedule to be triable;

Provided that any offense under section 376, Section 376A. Section 376AB,  Section 376D, Section 376DA, section 376DB or section 376E of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) shall be tried as far as practicable by a Court presided over by a woman.

(b) any offense under any other law shall, when any Court is mentioned in this behalf in such law, be tried by such Court and when no Court is so mentioned, may be tried by-

          (i) the High Court, or

         (ii) any other Court by which such offense is shown in the First Schedule to be triable.

2) Jurisdiction in the case of juveniles - 


          According to Section 27 of the said Code, any offence not punishable with death or imprisonment for life, committed by any person who at the date when he appears or is brought before the Court is under the age of sixteen years, maybe tried by the Court of a Chief Judicial Magistrate, or by any Court specially empowered under the Children Act, 1960,(60 of 1960) or any other law for the time being in force providing for the treatment, training and rehabilitation of youthful offenders.

3) Sentences which High Courts and Sessions Judges may pass -


According to Section 28 of the Code of Criminal Procedure -

  (1) A High Court may pass any sentence authorized by law.

 (2) A Sessions Judge or Additional Sessions Judge may pass any sentence authorized by law, but any sentence of death passed by any such Judge shall be subject to confirmation by the High Court.

 (3) An Assistant Sessions Judge may pass any sentence authorized by law except a sentence of death or of imprisonment for life or of imprisonment for a term exceeding ten years.

4) Sentences which Magistrates may pass


         According to Section 29(1) The Court of a Chief Judicial Magistrate may pass any sentence authorized by law except a sentence of death or of imprisonment for life or of imprisonment for a term exceeding seven years.

(2) The Court of a Magistrate of the first class may pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or of fine not exceeding five thousand rupees, or of both.

(3) The Court of a Magistrate of the second class may pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or of fine not exceeding one thousand rupees, or of both.

(3) The Court of a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate shall have the powers of the Court of a Chief Judicial Magistrate and that of a Metropolitan Magistrate, the powers of the Court of a Magistrate of the first class


5) Sentence of imprisonment in default of fine


According to Section 30(1) of the said Code, the Court of a Magistrate may award such term of imprisonment in default of payment of fine as is authorized by law:

6) Provided that the term -


      (a) is not in excess of the powers of the Magistrate under section 29;

      (b) shall not, where imprisonment has been awarded as part of the substantive sentence, exceed one-fourth of the term of imprisonment which the Magistrate is competent to inflict as punishment for the offense otherwise than as imprisonment in default of payment of the fine.

(2) The imprisonment awarded under this section may be in addition to a substantive sentence of imprisonment for the maximum term awardable by the Magistrate under section 29.

7) Sentence in cases of conviction of several offenses at one trial -


As per Section 31 of the Code of Criminal Procedure -

        (1) When a person is convicted at one trial of two or more offenses, the Court may, subject to the provisions of section 71 of the Indian Penal Code,(45 of 1860) sentence him for such offences, to the several punishments prescribed therefor which such Court is competent to inflict; such punishments when consisting of imprisonment to commence the one after the expiration of the other in such order as the Court may direct, unless the Court directs that such punishments shall run concurrently.

       (2) In the case of consecutive sentences, it shall not be necessary for the Court by reason only of the aggregate punishment for the several offenses being in excess of the punishment which it is competent to inflict on conviction of a single offence, to send the offender for trial before a higher Court:

Provided that-

        (a) in no case shall such person be sentenced to imprisonment for a longer period than fourteen years;

        (b) the aggregate punishment shall not exceed twice the amount of punishment which the Court is competent to inflict for a single offense.

(3) For the purpose of appeal by a convicted person, the aggregate of the consecutive sentences passed against him under this section shall be deemed to be a single sentence.

8) Mode of conferring powers


        Section 32 of the code of Criminal Procedure provides that -

(1) In conferring powers under this Code, the High Court or the State Government, as the case may be, may, by order, empower persons specially by name or in virtue of their offices or classes of officials generally by their official titles.

(2) Every such order shall take effect from the date on which it is communicated to the person so empowered.


9) Powers of officers appointed -


            According to Section 33 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, whenever any person holding an office in the service of Government who has been invested by the High Court or the State Government with any powers under this Code throughout any local area is appointed to an equal or higher office of the same nature, within a like local area under the same State Government, he shall, unless the High Court or the State Government, as the case may be, otherwise directs, or has otherwise directed, exercise the same powers in the local area in which he is so appointed.

10) Withdrawal of powers - 


According to Section 34 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 -

(1) The High Court or the State Government, as the case may be, may withdraw all or any of the powers conferred by it under this Code on any person or by any officer subordinate to it.

(2) Any powers conferred by the Chief Judicial Magistrate or by the District Magistrate may be withdrawn by the respective Magistrate by whom such powers were conferred.

11) Powers of Judges and Magistrates exercisable by their successors-in-office - 


Section 35 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides -

(1) Subject to the other provisions of this Code, the powers and duties of a Judge or Magistrate may be exercised or performed by his successor-in-office.

(2) When there is any doubt as to who is the successor-in-office of any Additional or Assistant Sessions Judge, the Sessions Judge shall determine by order in writing the Judge who shall, for the purposes of this Code or of any proceedings or order thereunder, be deemed to be the successor-in-office of such Additional or Assistant Sessions Judge.

(3) When there is any doubt as to who is the successor-in-office of any Magistrate, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, or the District Magistrate, as the case may be, shall determine by order in writing the Magistrate who shall, for the purpose of this Code or of any proceedings or order thereunder, be deemed to be the successor-in-office of such Magistrate.

See also...


Plea Bargaining (Section 256A to 256L of the Code of Criminal Procedure)

Rights of Accused Person at the Trial

What is Bail and what is the Difference between bailable and non-bailable offenses

Distinction/Difference between Inquiry and Trial

What is Bail and when bail may be canceled? (Code of Criminal Procedure)

Distinction/Difference between Inquiry and Trial

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