S. 2(g) of the Code defines the expression ‘inquiry‘ as meaning “every inquiry, other than a trial, conducted under this Code by a Magistrate or Court.”
Chapter II of the Code deals with “Constitution of Criminal Courts and Offices.”
Section 6 in this Chapter, inter alia, provides that there shall be in every State the following classes of “criminal courts”, namely – (i) Courts of Session; (ii) Judicial Magistrates of the first class and, in any metropolitan area, Metropolitan Magistrates; (iii) Judicial Magistrate of the second class; and (iv) Executive Magistrates.
Chapter III of the Code deals with the subject of “Power of Court”.
Section 26, according to its head-note, deals with “Courts by which offences are triable”, and, inter alia, provides that an offence may be tried, inter alia, by any “court by which such offence is shown in the First Schedule to be friable”. Column (6) of the First Sch. is headed “By what Court triable”, and this column mentions, among others, various “Magistrates”.
Section 27 deals with jurisdiction in the case of juveniles, and provides that “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, may be tried by the Court of a Chief Judicial Magistrate, or by any Court specially empowered under the Children Act, 1960.”
Section 29 is headed “Sentences which Magistrates may pass“, but the body of the section is interesting and runs thus:- “29. Sentences which Magistrate may pass,
(1) The Court of a Chief Judicial Magistrate may pass any sentence authorised by law except a sentence of death or of imprisonment for life or 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 three years, or of fine not exceeding one thousand rupee, or of both;
(4) 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 power of the Court of a Magistrate of the first class.”
Section 30 deals with sentence of imprisonment in default of fine, and provides that “The Court of a Magistrate may award such term of imprisonment in default of payment of fine as is authorised by law, provided that the term “is not in excess of the powers of the Magistrate under section 29”.
Section 35, which corresponds to S. 559 of the old Code, deals with powers of Judges and Magistrates. This is how its provisions run:- “35. Power of Judges and Magistrates exercisable by their successors-in-office :-
(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 there under, 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 purposes of this Code of any proceedings or order there under, be deemed to be the successor-in-office of such Magistrate.”
Chapter XIV of the Code deals with conditions requisite for initiation of proceedings.
Section 190 which deals with cognizance of offences by Magistrate provides that “Subject to the provisions of this Chapter, any Magistrate of the first class, and any Magistrate of the second class specially empowered in this behalf under sub-section (2), may take cognizance of any offence –
“(a) upon receiving a complaint of facts which constitutes such offence; (b) upon a police report of such facts; (c) upon information received from any person other than a police officer, or upon his own knowledge, that such offence has been committed.”
Section 191 provides for transfer of cases on application of the accused. Section 192 deals with “making over” of cases to Magistrates, and provides that any Chief Judicial Magistrate may after taking cognizance of an offence, make over the case for inquiry or trial to any competent Magistrate subordinate to him.
Sub-section (2) of this section further provides that any Magistrate of the first class, empowered in this behalf by Chief Judicial Magistrate, may, after taking cognizance of an offence, “make over” the case for inquiry or trial to such other competent Magistrate as the Chief Judicial Magistrate may, by general or special order, specify and thereupon such Magistrate may hold the inquiry or trial.
Chapter XV of the Code deals with Complaints to Magistrates. Section 200, which deals with examination of complainant, provides that a Magistrate taking cognizance of an offence on complaint shall examine upon oath the complainant and the witnesses present, if any, and the substance of such examination shall be reduced to writing and shall be signed by the complainant and the witnesses, and also by the Magistrate. The examination of the complainant and the witnesses is, however, not necessary if the complaint is by a public servant, or if the Magistrate makes over the case for inquiry or trial to another Magistrate u/s 192.
The second proviso to the section runs thus: “Provided further that if the Magistrate makes over the case to another magistrate, under S. 192 after examining the complainant and the witnesses, the latter Magistrate need not re-examine them.”
Section 203 deals with dismissal of a complaint and provides that “if after considering the statements on oath, if any, of the complainant and of the witnesses and the result of the inquiry or investigation if any under S. 202, the Magistrate is of opinion that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding, he shall dismiss the complaint, and in every such case he shall briefly record his reasons for so doing.”