(Sub-divisional revenue officers are executive magistrates enjoying detain degree of judicial powers such as issuing detention orders and obtaining bonds of undertakings from habitual offenders).
Ahead of new appointment or promotion as executive magistrates, they shall be trained about the basic concepts of criminal law, how to conduct inquiry and how to pass reasoned orders.
“This court is constrained to say that the executing magistrates, without knowing/understanding the basic concepts of criminal justice delivery system and by conducting some sort of enquiry as per their whims and fancies, are playing with the personal liberty of the accused, casually and mechanically,” said justice K Murali Shankar.
“It is very much shocking to notice that the executive magistrates have been passing orders under Section 122(1)(b) CrPC detaining the accused for a period between six months to one year in a very casual manner and more importantly, affecting the personal liberty, which is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution,” justice Murali Shankar observed.
Police after losing their cases before the regular courts are now attempting to punish the accused and detain them in prison through a back door method by invoking the provisions of Chapter VIII of CrPC, which contains provisions relating to bond for keeping peace and good behaviour and also the consequences emanating from the breach of such bond, observed the judge. The judge observed that though the executive magistrates were conferred powers to conduct the proceedings under Sections 106 to 110 Cr P C, it is settled law that the said proceedings are judicial in nature.
It is pertinent to note that the criminal jurisprudence mandates that a person, who is charged with an offence must be given an opportunity, which should be meaningful and fair in terms of Article 21 of Constitution. This basic concept is very much applicable to an enquiry contemplated under Sections 106 to 110 Cr P C, which are triable by the executive magistrates.
“The executive magistrates are not aware of the above principles laid down by this court, nor the authorities have taken steps to instruct the executive magistrates to follow the said principles,” observed Justice Murali Shankar, pointing out that he had set aside the orders passed by executive magistrates in 40 cases only on the ground that they have not followed the legal principles and also the basic principles of natural justice. The executive magistrates, who are not following the principles laid down by courts are to be dealt with severely and departmental action should be initiated, observed the judge.