Section 18 CrPC: Special Metropolitan Magistrates – Powers & Jurisdiction in India

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Section 18 CrPC: Special Metropolitan Magistrates – Powers & Jurisdiction in India

1. Code:

“The High Court or the State Government, as the case may be, may empower any Special Metropolitan Magistrate to exercise, in any local area outside the metropolitan area, the powers of a Judicial Magistrate of the first class.”

2. Explanation:

Section 18 of the CrPC deals with the powers and jurisdiction of Special Metropolitan Magistrates (SMMs). These magistrates are appointed specifically for metropolitan areas to handle a large volume of criminal cases and to ensure efficient administration of justice.

Key Powers & Jurisdiction:

  • Cognizance of Offences: SMMs have the power to take cognizance of offenses under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other laws, subject to certain limitations.
  • Trial of Offences: SMMs can try offenses punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years, including offenses under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
  • Issuance of Warrants: SMMs can issue warrants for the arrest of accused persons, including bailable warrants.
  • Inquiry & Trial: SMMs can conduct inquiries and trials in relation to the offenses within their jurisdiction.
  • Imposition of Sentences: SMMs have the power to impose sentences for offenses within their jurisdiction, subject to the maximum sentence prescribed by law.
  • Other Powers: SMMs also possess other powers, such as the power to grant bail, order the release of accused persons on probation, and issue summons for witnesses.

3. Illustration:

Consider a case where a person is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol in Delhi. This would be an offense under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. A Special Metropolitan Magistrate in Delhi would have the jurisdiction to try this case, including the power to issue warrants, conduct an inquiry, and impose a sentence on the accused person.

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4. Common Questions & Answers:

  • Q: What are the limitations on the jurisdiction of SMMs?

    A: SMMs cannot try offenses that are punishable with death or life imprisonment. They also cannot try certain specific offenses listed in the CrPC.

  • Q: How are SMMs appointed?

    A: SMMs are appointed by the State Government after consultation with the High Court.

  • Q: What is the difference between a Metropolitan Magistrate and a Special Metropolitan Magistrate?

    A: While both are appointed for metropolitan areas, SMMs have specific powers and jurisdiction defined by the CrPC, whereas Metropolitan Magistrates have broader jurisdiction.

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