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Report No. 14

44. Andhra Pradesh

1. By the Andhra State Act of 1953, the eleven Andhra Districts that formed part of the State of Madras were constituted as a separate State to which were added, consequent upon the reorganisation of the States by Act XXXVII of 1956, nine districts-popularly known as the Telangana region-of the erstwhile State of Hyderabad; the State thus enlarged has been given the name "Andhra Pradesh".

2. According to the census of 1951, the population of the State is 31,260,133 made up of 20,647,608 inhabitants in the Andhra districts and the rest in Telangana. They contribute roughly a tenth of the total litigation in the regular civil courts of our country.

3. Subordinate Judiciary.-

At the apex of the judiciary is the High Court consisting of sixteen judges including the Chief Justice and three additional judges appointed for a period of two years. The territory subject to the jurisdiction of the High Court covers an area of 1,05,963 square miles and has been divided into twenty district judgeships. In 1956, the subordinate civil judiciary consisted of thirty-four district judges including ten additional district judges, one Chief Judge and two additional judges of the City Civil Court, Hyderabad, one Chief Judge of the City Small Causes Court, Hyderabad, thirty-four subordinate judges including one judge of the City Small Causes Court, Hyderabad and one hundred and twenty munsifs.

On the criminal side there were forty-nine sessions judges including nineteen assistant sessions judges, eleven district magistrates (Judicial), sixty-two sub-divisional and munsif magistrates, thirty judicial first class magistrates, seventy judicial second class magistrates, one third class magistrate and five honorary magistrates in addition to executive officers exercising magisterial powers.

4. Honorary Magistrates.-

There are two classes of honorary magistrates, namely, (1) special honorary magistrates and (2) honorary bench magistrates. Special honorary magistrates exercise powers of first class magistrates and sit singly. The honorary railway magistrates also sit singly.

5. These honorary magistrates are generally appointed in large municipal towns in order to give relief to the stipendiary magistrates. One lady and one member of the Harijan community are generally included in each bench. All the honorary magistrates are under the administrative control of the Judicial District Magistrates.

6. The honorary magistrates usually try offences relating to public health, simple hurt, wrongful restraint, assault, misChief, criminal trespass, intimidation and theft or receiving stolen property not exceeding Rs. 15 in value under the Indian Penal Code and also offences under the Municipal Acts and conservancy clauses of the Police Act punishable with fine only or with imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month. They also try offences under the Local Boards Acts relating to compulsory vaccination, registration of births and deaths etc. Honorary railway magistrates try offences of ticketless travel and also those under certain other offences under the Indian Railways Act.

7. At present, appointments of honorary magistrates are made by Government on the recommendation of the collector of the district. As separation of the judiciary from the executive has been effected throughout the State, it would be more appropriate to make the selection on the recommendation of District Judge or the Judicial District Magistrate.

8. Judicial administration in the Andhra area.-

Two distinct patterns of judicial administration obtain in this State. In the Andhra districts the system of judicial administration existing in the Madras State has been retained with two notable variations, namely:

(i) district judges hear appeals valued upto Rs. 7,500;

(ii) after the coming into force of the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Act (XXVI of 1955), the Government has by an order G.O. M.S. No. 750, dated the 26th March, 1956, which came into force on the 1st April, 1956, abolished the posts of district magistrates (Judicial), sub-divisional magistrates and stationary sub-magistrates and appointed, instead, additional district and sessions judges, judicial first class and second class magistrates respectively.

9. In Telengana.-

In the Telangana region, however, the same set of officers exercise civil and criminal jurisdiction; the subordinate judges have been invested with powers of district magistrates and munsifs with those of first class magistrates. There are no judicial second class magistrates nor honorary magistrates.

10. Appointment of judicial district magistrates.-

For the speedy dispensation of criminal justice the co-operation of the police is necessary. Delays on the part of the police officials in the submission of charge sheets, service of summons, attendance at courts and the like have to be brought to the notice of superior police officials. Slackness on the part of subordinate magistrates will have to be corrected. All this will be possible only if there is a detailed scrutiny of the periodical returns sent by the subordinate magistracy, and a frequent inspection of magistrates' courts. It is a matter of doubt whether the additional district and sessions judges appointed for this purpose will be in a position to devote sufficient time to the effective supervision of the work of the magistracy because of their sessions and civil appellate work.

These duties can be discharged more efficiently by judicial district magistrates. Appointment of judicial district magistrates will not only add to the efficiency of the magistracy but will also result in a saving to the state exchequer. We would favour the appointment of judicial district magistrates instead of additional district and sessions judges for the purposes of supervision, with powers to hear appeals from the decisions of second and third class magistrates as in Madras and Kerala.

Reform of Judicial Administration Back

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