Powers of Courts

powers of Courts

Chapter III Code of Criminal Procedure deals with the powers of Courts to take cognizance of offence which are divided into offences Indian Penal Code and the offences under any other law. The powers of courts for trial of the offences are mentioned from Section 26 to 35 of the Code.

The courts in which offences are triable

Section 26 of CrPC describes by which courts the offences are triable. Under IPC any offences can be tried by the High Court, Court of Sessions and any other court which is specified in the first schedule. As per the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 Section 11 states that any offences under Section 376, Section376A, Section 376B, Section 376C, Section 376D and Section 376E of IPC should be tried by a court where it is presided by a woman judge. And any offence under any other law can be tried in any court that mentioned in such law and if no court is mentioned in the law, it may be tried by the High Court, any other Court which specifies in the schedule.

Jurisdiction of the Juvenile Cases

Section 27 of Code states that any person who is below the age of sixteen years is considered to be juveniles. The offence committed by a juvenile is tried by the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate or by the Court which empowered by the Children Act,1960(60 of 1960) or any other for the time being in force relating in youthful offenders.

Present Juvenile Justice System

The Introduction of “Juvenile Justice(Care and Protection)2015 Act” brought changes in the juvenile under the age of 16 to 18 years tried to be an adult. Trial of the juveniles for the committing of offences should be based on the non-penal treatments by sending them to Special homes and the Rehabilitation centres. The juveniles should get a chance of reformation instead of ordering the judgement for punishing by the Court. And the juveniles should not be tried in courts, they must be corrected for their offence.

Sentences that High Court and Sessions Judges may passes

The High Court is empowered to pass any sentence that is authorized by law. In Onkar Nath v. Emperor[i], it was held that Section 27(1) does not mean that High Court may pass any sentence but its power to pass any sentence as an appellate court must be measured by the power of Court from which the judgement of appeal have brought before it. The Sessions Judge and the Additional Sessions Judge can pass any sentence that is authorized by law, for the passing of death sentence the prior confirmation of High Court is necessary. An Assistant Sessions Judge may pass a sentence which is authorized by law, but they cannot pass the death sentence, life imprisonment and also imprisonment for 10years or more.

Power of Magistrate to Pass Sentences

The Court under this section may pass within its discretion sentence for any period within the maximum it has the power to pass. The Chief Judicial Magistrate may pass any sentence authorized by law, except the death sentence, life imprisonment and imprisonment for more than seven years[ii].In the case Saroop Kumar v. the State of H.P[iii] it was held that a Chief Judicial Magistrate cannot exercise the power available to him when he presides in a children’s court.

A Magistrate of the first class can pass sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years and fine[iv].The Court of Magistrate of Second Class can also pass sentence of imprisonment not exceeding one year and a fine of five thousand rupees[v].The Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate shall have the same powers of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Metropolitan Magistrate and that of a First Class Magistrate Judge.[vi]

Imprisonment In Default of Fine

If the accused fails to pay the fine imposed to him, then he can be imprisoned for a further term. This section provides the limit of the sentence that can be awarded in default of payment of a fine. The power of Magistrate to award fine are limited under Section 29. In Bashiruddin Ashraaf v. the State of Bihar[vii] it was held that, where the offence is punishable by fine only, then it cannot provide for imprisonment in default of payment of fine, the imposition of simple imprisonment for such default is justified under Section 30.

Cases of Conviction of Several Offences at One Trial

Under Section 31, if the person is convicted for two or more offences at one trial, the court can provide separate punishments. Section 31(1)the court can order different sentences that runs concurrently. In the case of succeeding sentences, the court doesn’t have to send the offender before the High Court. The Court itself can pass sentence for without exceeding the term of fourteen years and the aggregate punishment not exceeding the fine limit of the Court. And for appeal in aggregate punishment is assumed as a single sentence.

Conferring Powers

The High Courts and the State Government can give powers on the person in particular of their offices or classes of officials by the official labels. And every such order is considered as to be effective from the date of appointment of such persons.[viii]In Prem Nath v. the State of Rajasthan[ix], held that the High Court or State Government is competent to award additional powers upon any person.

The Powers of Officers Appointed

The High Court or State Government authorize any person who works in service of Government to have power over the local area, where he is considered as the equal or higher officer, as the area is under same State Government. In Balwant v. Kishen[x], it was held that an officer on his transfer from one local area to another finish to have power over that local area.

The power to withdrawal

Section 34 of Code states that the high court and the state government have the power to withdraw the power which awarded on a person or any officer subordinate to it. Also, the Chief Judicial Magistrate or District Magistrate can withdraw power that given to any person or an officer.

Successors in Office

Section 35 provides the power to Judge and Magistrate to exercise or perform by his successor in office. The Sessions Judge can establish by writing an order to consider a judge as successor in office of Additional Sessions Judge pr Assistant Sessions Judge. The Chief Judicial Magistrate or the District Magistrate also provided with the same power to write an order to consider a Magistrate as successor in office. And this power can be used only if there a doubt arises.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Sections dealt with the power of Courts?

The Power of Courts is dealt with in Section 26 to 35 of the Code.

Which Section of Code states the Juveniles?

Section 27 of Code states that any person who is below the age of sixteen years is considered to be juveniles.

“The views of the authors are personal


[i] A.I.R. 1936 All 675.

[ii] Section 29(1) of Code of Criminal Procedure 1973.

[iii] 1989 Cr. LJ, 1113.

[iv] Section 29(2) of Code of Criminal Procedure 1973.

[v] )Section 29(3) of Code of Criminal Procedure 1973.

[vi] Section 29(4) of Code of Criminal Procedure 1973.

[vii] A.I.R. 1972 S.C.645.

[viii] Section32 (1) and (2) of Code of Criminal Procedure 1973.

[ix] A.I.R. 1967 S.C. 1599.

[x] 1896 19 All 114.

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