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Report No. 14

12. Courts of Presidency Magistrates.-

The magisterial work in the city of Calcutta is carried out by the Chief Presidency Magistrate assisted by an Additional Chief Presidency Magistrate, 8 Stipendiary Magistrates and Honorary Magistrates whose number varies from time to time. There are also municipal magistrates who deal with municipal cases. In 1957, in addition to the Stipendiary Magistrates, there were 13 Honorary Magistrates. Out of the 8 Stipendiary Magistrates one is a Deputy Collector. The Stipendiary Presidency Magistrates get the grade pay of Munsifs plus a special pay of Rs. 100 per mensem.

The system of mobile courts obtaining in Madras has been introduced in the city of Calcutta, though not so extensively as in Madras. The Chief Presidency Magistrate who gave evidence before us stated that once a week a Magistrate goes round the city holding Court at different places and that the system had worked well though the percentage of convictions was less. He favoured the extension of the system of Magistrates going in circuits and added that it could not be done on account of dearth of hands.

There has been a considerable increase in the volume of work brought before the courts of Presidency Magistrates as will appear from the Table given below:-

Table 9

1945

1951

1955

1956

Nature of proceeding

Instituted

Disposed of

Instituted

Disposed of

Instituted

Disposed of

Instituted

Disposed of

Case under the I.P.C.

5073

N.A.

7582

N.A.

6608

N.A.

5753

N.A.

Cases Under the Special and local laws.

69958

74223

133127

33306

123187

127797

150458

130818

In the Courts of Municipal Magistrates

1712

17607

30767

30791

N.A.

N.A.

N.A.

N.A.

The arrears are however not such as to call for particular comment. The Chief Presidency Magistrate told us in his evidence that the Presidency Magistrates "have the cleanest record of all criminal courts in the State." He said also that in case the number of mobile courts was to be increased, the existing strength would not be sufficient to preside over the stationary courts.

The State Government, in consultation with the High Court, has prescribed the qualifications for honorary Magistrates and honorary Presidency Magistrates under section 14 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Appointments to the posts of honorary Magistrates are made from amongst the following classes of persons: (1) retired stipendiary Magistrates or judges who are willing to serve in an honorary capacity; (2) former Honorary Magistrates particularly those with a high standard of education and good record of judicial work, and (3) other suitable persons with high educational qualifications and adequate means of livelihood. Ordinarily, a person who is not a graduate is not considered suitable. In the case of women, however, the educational standards are relaxed where they have considerable experience of social work.

A panel of eligible persons is prepared for each district and appointments are made from among persons enlisted in it.

Honorary Magistrates are ordinarily given simple cases, but able and experienced persons are given important cases also. The following Table (Table No. 10) will show that the Honorary Magistrates other than the Honorary Presidency Magistrates have disposed of a substantial amount of work:

Table No. 10

Year

Total Number of cases disposed of by magistrates

Number of cases disposed of by the honorary magistrates out of the total shown in column

1952

1,67,724

20545

1951

1,72,411

25874

1953

1,99,833

11257

1954

2,07,087

15055

1955

2,10,389

14427



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