Difference Between Judge And Magistrate

Judge: Judge is a Judicial officer appointed to hear and decide matters relating to law.
The word ‘Judge’ has been derived from the Anglo French word ‘JUGER’ which means ‘TO FORM AN OPINION ABOUT.”
From Old.French, the word ‘JUGIER’ means ‘TO JUDGE.’
From Latin ‘JUDICARE’ which also means “to judge, to examine officially; form an opinion upon; pronounce judgment.”

Magistrate: Magistrate is a civil officer that has power to administer and enforce the law. He has limited judicial authority.
The word ‘magistrate’ has been derived from the Old.French word ‘MAGISTRAT,’ which means “CIVIL OFFICER IN CHARGE OF ADMINISTRATING LAWS.” From Latin ‘MAGISTRATES’ which also means “A MAGISTRATE, PUBLIC FUNCTIONARY.”

Judge and Magistrate are two terms that are often confused us to mean, It is generally believed that both the terms Judge and Magistrate refer to one and the same person. Actually, both of them differ in more than one aspect. A Judge is bestowed with more powers than a Magistrate. A magistrate has only administrative and limited law enforcement powers. The powers exercised by a magistrate are more than an Administrative Official. Magistrates may preside over lower level criminal cases and some civil matters. They may handle cases, such as, petty theft and small crimes etc. On the other hand, judges handle large cases.

Eg. District Collector / District Magistrate is the administrative head of the district who is a member of the Indian Administrative Service, and is appointed by the Government. He performs the statutory functions as required under various Legislations relating to the Revenue Administration such as revenue collection, taxation and the handling of natural and man-made emergencies etc. As District Magistrate he is responsible for maintenance of law and order, hearing cases under the preventive section of the Criminal Procedure Code, supervision of the police and jails etc. He is also responsible to maintain peace and justice in the district.
The District Judge is head of the entire Judgeship and all other Judicial Offices in that district are under his Subordination. The Court of District Judge is also appellate Court, which exercises jurisdiction both on original side and appellate side in civil and criminal matters arising in the District.

In Surendra Kumar Bhatia Vs. Kanhaiya Lal & Ors. [2009 INSC 194 (30 January 2009)], The Supreme Court has held that a district collector is not a judge and as such cannot seek immunity from prosecution in criminal cases. The court ruled that the immunity granted to judges under Section 77 IPC would not be available to district collectors or the land acquisition officers who acquire private lands and award compensation.
“The Collector is neither a Judge as defined under Section 19 nor does he act judicially, when discharging any of the functions under the (Land Acquisition) Act. Therefore he is not entitled to protection under Section 77 IPC.”
“In making an award or making a reference or serving a notice, the Collector neither acts in judicial nor quasi judicial capacity but purely in an administrative capacity, exercising statutory powers as an agent and representative of the Government/Acquiring Authority,” the court observed.

Magistrates are classified into four categories according to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973

* A Chief Judicial Magistrate

* Judicial Magistrates First Class;

* Judicial Magistrates Second Class; and

* Executive Magistrates

Chief Judicial Magistrate: Section 12 of The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 Explains about the following terms, it runs as follows
Chief Judicial Magistrate and Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, etc.
(1) In every district (not being a metropolitan area), the High Court shall appoint a Judicial Magistrate of the first class to be the Chief Judicial Magistrate.
(2) The High Court may appoint any Judicial Magistrate of the first class to be an Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, and such Magistrate shall have all or any of the powers of a Chief Judicial Magistrate under this Code or under any other law for the time being in force as the High Court may direct.
(3) (a) The High Court may designate any Judicial Magistrate of the first class in any sub- division as the Sub- divisional Judicial Magistrate and relieve him of the responsibilities specified in this section as occasion requires.
(b) Subject to the general control of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, every Sub- divisional Judicial Magistrate shall also have and exercise such powers of supervision and control over the work of the Judicial Magistrates (other than Additional Chief Judicial Magistrates) in the sub- division as the High Court may, by general or special order, specify in this behalf.

According to Section 29 (1) of the Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 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 of imprisonment for a term exceeding seven years.

Section 11 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 explains about the following terms, it runs as follows
11. Courts of Judicial Magistrates.
(1) In every district (not being a metropolitan area), there shall be established as many Courts of Judicial Magistrates of the first class and of the second class, and at such places, as the State Government may, after consultation with the High Court, by notification, specify: 1[ Provided that the State Government may, after consultation with the High Court, establish, for any local area, one or more Special Courts of Judicial Magistrates of the first class or of the second class to try any particular case or particular class of cases, and where any such Special Court is established, no other Court of Magistrate in the local area shall have jurisdiction to try any case or class of cases for the trial of which such Special Court of Judicial Magistrate has been established.]
(2) The presiding officers of such Courts shall be appointed by the High Court.
(3) The High Court may, whenever it appears to it to be expedient or necessary, confer the powers of a Judicial Magistrate of the first class or of the second class on any member of the Judicial Service of the State, functioning as a Judge in a Civil Court.

According to Section 29 (2) of the Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 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.

Sec 29 (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.

Executive Magistrates: Section 20 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 explains about Executive Magistrate, it runs as follows
20. Executive Magistrates.
(1) In every district and in every metropolitan area, the State Government may appoint as many persons as it thinks fit to be Executive Magistrates and shall appoint one of them to be the District Magistrate.
(2) The State Government may appoint any Executive Magistrate to be an Additional District Magistrate, and such Magistrate shall have 1[ such] of the powers of a District Magistrate under this Code or under any other law for the time being in force 2[ as may be directed by the State Government].
(3) Whenever, in consequence of the office of a District Magistrate becoming vacant, any officer succeeds temporarily to the executive administration of the district, such officer shall, pending the orders of he State Government, exercise all the powers and perform all the duties respectively conferred and imposed by this Code on the District Magistrate.
(4) The State Government may place an Executive Magistrate in charge of a sub- division and may relieve him of the charge as occasion requires; and the Magistrate so placed in charge of a sub- division shall be called the Sub- divisional Magistrate.
(5) Nothing in this section shall preclude the State Government from conferring, under any law for the time being in force, on a Commissioner of Police, all or any of the powers of an Executive Magistrate in relation to a metropolitan area.

These magistrates are normally conferred on the officers of the Revenue Department, although an officer can be appointed exclusively as an Executive Magistrate. Normally, the Collector of the district is appointed as the District Magistrate. Similarly, the Sub-Collectors are appointed as the Sub Divisional Magistrates. Tahsildars and Deputy/Additional Tahsildars are appointed as Executive Magistrates.

The only difference between the Judicial Magistrate and the Executive Magistrate is that all cases can handle by the Judicial Magistrate whereas certain issues relating to public peace, maintenance of Law and Order etc can be handle by the Executive Magistrate.

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