The Criminal Justice System is a comprehensive framework intended to address law
and order issues comprehensively. It involves deterring crime, facilitating
legal proceedings, and enforcing court orders. The essential part that
magistrates play in this system is paramount. These magistrates have the
responsibility of monitoring an extensive variety of cases, such as theft,
traffic violations, and disturbances in public areas.
They act as the
gatekeepers of justice, issuing warrants, setting bail, and handling low-level
criminal cases, in addition to other important responsibilities. This paper
explores all of the responsibilities and duties that magistrates have when using
their judicial authority. It also emphasizes the basic notion that
judges-including magistrates-must decide cases by the natural justice
The defense of accused individual rights is directly linked to the
notion of natural justice. It includes rights including an opportunity for the
accused to be heard, impartiality, fairness in the hearing process, and
sufficient notice. The cornerstone of a just and equitable legal system is
composed of these principles.
This paper examines the potential repercussions of violating the natural justice
principles. As accused parties strive to right perceived wrongs, legal
objections can arise, resulting in expensive postponements and retrials. When
justice is violated, there is an actual concern that the public's trust in the
criminal justice system will be lost, potentially jeopardizing the integrity of
the institution. In the most severe instances, there may be miscarriages of
justice that lead to wrongfully convicted people or unfair sentences. The Code
of Criminal Procedure (CRPC) provisions that particularly address the role of
magistrates in the criminal justice system are examined as well in this context.
These rules define the limitations that magistrates work within and provide an
organized framework for trial proceedings, bail guidelines, and the issue of
warrants and summonses.
In conclusion, this paper offers magistrates practical recommendations on how to
uphold a fair process while exercising their power. These recommendations place
extreme value on the significance of maintaining up-to-date on legal changes,
upholding impartiality, effectively communicating decisions, and engaging in
continuous education to improve judicial competency.
As Aristotle said, "It is an injustice that the ordering of society is centred."
The criminal justice system is crucial to preserving social order because it
protects the Rule of Law, which is the cornerstone of our democracy. There are
an absurd number of cases pending in Indian courts. It is crucial to remember
that when justice is withheld, it is buried and that a delay in justice is
The Criminal Justice system is a system that deals with the agencies of the
government that are responsible for maintaining peace and harmony, enforcing the
law, and handling criminal conduct. The police, the prosecution, the courts, and
the penal administration comprise the criminal justice system.
All of these
system parts are intended to work in harmony with one another. The criminal
justice system's success will only be made feasible by these organs working
together harmoniously. Courts are the crucial wing of the criminal justice
system. There are two types of criminal systems those are Adversarial system and
the inquisitorial system. We follow the adversarial system advocates of both
parties argue and prove their arguments through evidence.
Judges decide the case
on the basis of the advocate's arguments and evidence. Most of the common law
countries follow this system. Since it is assumed that a crime has been
committed against the state as a whole, the prosecutor represents the state,
which has a duty to administer justice. Judgment is postponed in this system
because both sides are guaranteed the opportunity for a fair trial and hearing.
Through several rulings and announcements, such as in the case of Lalita Kumari
v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2014), the Court made it mandatory for police
officers to lodge the FIR and courts have strengthened the nation's criminal
justice system and played a significant role in its administration. The criminal
justice system described above makes clear how crucial the court's position as
the system's cornerstone is.
Role Of Magistrate In The Criminal Justice System
On 5 January 2013, Hon'ble Justice P. Sathasivam who is the judge of the supreme
court delivered a speech on the Role of Judicial Officers in the criminal
justice system at Tamil Nadu State Judicial Academy for the Newly Recruited
Civil Judges. In that speech, he mentioned, that the responses of society to
crimes and offenders are reflected in criminal justice.
The courts, police,
prosecution, and defense are the main actors playing this function. It is
difficult to successfully administer criminal justice in a democratic society
where the rule of law and protected fundamental rights are in place.
This is the
context in which the subordinate judiciary becomes extremely significant. In the
case of All India Judges' Association v. Union of India
, former chief justice Ranganath Mishra gave a great overview of the magistrate's function in a writ
petition about the conditions of subordinate judiciary. Where he observes:
'The Trial judge is the kingpin in the hierarchical system of administration of
justice. He directly comes in contact with the litigant during the proceedings
in court. On him lies the responsibility of building up of the case
appropriately and on his understanding of the matter the cause of justice is
first answered. The personalities, knowledge, judicial restraint, capacity to
maintain dignity are the additional aspects which go into making the Court's
He also mentioned about pendency of cases Section 309 has been inserted with an
explanation to sub-clause, the purpose of this modification is to speed trials
by prohibiting adjournments at the request of parties or on the basis of a
party's lawyer's engagement in another court. For the purposes of Section 265A,
judicial officers are required to have knowledge of "offenses affecting the
socio-economic condition of the country."
A judge should be knowledgeable of the
most recent changes and advancements in the law and apply them to give effect to
the legislature's intention to expedite the administration of justice. Under 165
of the Evidence Act power was given to the judge to ask questions to the witness
to discover the truth.
An advocate sees the success/winning of their client but
the judge must watch justice triumph. Justice must be administered fairly in
order to maintain the public's confidence in the rule of law. One of the most
fundamental principles of criminal law is that everyone is initially deemed
innocent until and until their guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt in
a court of law that is both unbiased and knowledgeable. No one may be punished
without having undergone a fair trial, and court officials have a responsibility
to uphold this principle.
The duty of a magistrate in a fair trial to the accused is, that the accused
must know on what basis he got arrested and have legal aid and to consult a
lawyer. Once the accused had been arrested, he had to be produced before the
magistrate within 24 hours. without the permission of the magistrate accused
should not be detained in custody beyond 24hrs.
The magistrate can pass an order
of remand to authorise the detention of the accused in such custody as such
Magistrate thinks fit, for a term not exceeding 15 days in the whole. The reason
for the safeguards has been explained by Justice Bhagwati in the case of Khatri
II v. State of Bihar
'This healthy provision enables the magistrates to keep check over the police
investigation and it is necessary that the magistrates should try enforcing this
requirement and where it is found disobeyed, come down heavily upon the police�
There is however, no obligation on the part of the magistrate to grant remand as
a matter of course. The police have to make out a case for that. It can't be a
Under the amended section 50A of the Criminal Procedure, magistrates are
assigned with the essential duty of ensuring that the arresting police have
informed the subject of his rights and entered in the police diary. In the case
of Sheela Barse v. State of Maharashtra
 SC held that the magistrate is
required to advise the arrested accused person of his right to a medical
examination under section 54.
In this instance, the High Court instructed
magistrates to inquire with the accused about any complaints he may have made
about being tortured or mistreated while in police custody. In the case of Hussainara Khatoon V Case
 it was held that if the accused was not produced
within 24hrs then it's the duty of the magistrate to inform the accused that he
has a right to be released on bail on expiry of the statutory period of 90 or 60
days as the case may be.
It is important to remember that maintaining criminal justice necessitates
collaboration between the two directly involved branches of government - the
legal system and the police force. The magistrate is involved in the police
investigation at every point, even though direct intervention is not optimal in
the process. A magistrate's duty is to supervise the investigative process and
guard against legal misuse by the investigating body. and must realize,
nevertheless, that the magistrate's function is a complement to the police
In 2004 Malimath Committee gave some recommendations:
Criminal Justice System In The United States
- For speedy trials, the criminal justice system has to change from an adversarial to an inquisitorial system.
- The committee proposes granting the right to silence to the accused, protecting them against self-incrimination.
This aligns with constitutional principles and ensures that individuals are not compelled to testify against
- It criticizes the presumption of the accused to be innocent until guilt is proved beyond reasonable doubt,
leading to the delay of the case.
- Compensation should be given to the victim.
- A public prosecutor should be appointed through conducting exams.
- There should be reform of the police system to lead to transparency.
- Every high court should have a judge who specializes in criminal law.
- In order to guarantee the criminal justice system's efficacy and adaptability to changing circumstances, a
Presidential Commission to conduct periodic inspections of the system is suggested.
There are two levels to the American criminal justice system: federal and state.
Every jurisdiction possesses a distinct collection of substantive criminal laws
and criminal procedures. The FBI, DEA, ATF, Secret Service, and Customs Service
are just a few of the more than twenty specialized federal law enforcement
agencies. Enforcing federal laws is the responsibility of these agencies.
president appoints federal prosecutors, sometimes referred to as U.S. attorneys,
to each of the 94 court districts in the country. Being answerable to the U.S.
attorney general, they enjoy a great deal of independence and prosecute federal
crimes in federal courts.
The Department of Justice, based in Washington, D.C.,
provides assistance, expertise, and some guidance and supervision to U.S.
attorneys. It houses special prosecutorial units with nationwide authority in
areas such as organized crime, war crimes, antitrust, and international drug
Criminal procedure in the US, highlighting the presence of both national and
local laws. Criminal procedure laws are governed by the laws of each state and
the federal government. Judicial advisory panels draft the Federal Rules of
Criminal Procedure, which the Supreme Court then publishes with the potential
for change by Congress.
State legislatures usually define state procedural laws.
There are twenty-three distinct rights included by the first eight amendments to
the Constitution, twelve of which are directly tied to criminal proceedings.
These rights were once viewed mainly as defenses against the federal government.
However, the due process provision of the Fourteenth Amendment included most of
these rights after World War II, extending their reach to state law enforcement.
In interactions with police, prosecutors, courts, and jail officials, people's
rights are guaranteed under the federal Constitution. States, however, can
provide criminal defendants more rights, possibly going beyond the safeguards
established by the US Supreme Court.
In American legal parlance, "criminal
procedure" refers to the administrative, statutory, and constitutional
restraints on police investigations. This covers laws governing seizures,
questioning, and searches of people, property, and objects.
- Right to counsel
Defendants are guaranteed a "speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the
state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed" by the Sixth
Amendment. Defendants also have the right to "assistance of counsel" for their
defense and to face the witnesses against them, including a cross-examination.
The right to legal representation starts at the beginning of the court process
when the suspect is made an accused person.
At the initial court appearance, the
judge designates a defense attorney for the accused if they are impoverished. In
1963, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright that the government
had to provide defense attorneys to impoverished individuals who were charged
with felonies. This decision was later expanded to include any situations in
which the defendant might face jail or prison time.
- Right to trial
The right to a public trial is granted to the defendant. Journalists are welcome
to attend American court proceedings like members of the public. The defendant
cannot give up this privilege because it is regarded as a common one among all
citizens. Television cameras are not always permitted in courtrooms, even if
they are accessible to the general public. Federal courtrooms typically do not
allow cameras, while certain states like California permit live television
coverage of criminal proceedings. There is disagreement about whether trial
processes are distorted or whether the public is educated by media broadcasts.
- Right to speedy trial
A criminal defendant is guaranteed a timely trial by the Sixth Amendment. But
the Supreme Court hasn't laid down a precise time frame that would violate this
protection if it were to be surpassed. Every case is evaluated on its own basis.
The period of time between the committing of a crime and the filing of charges
is governed by statutes of limitations rather than the right to a prompt trial.
According to the Constitution, there cannot be an excessive amount of time
between the indictment and trial.
- Right to a Jury trial
A criminal defendant is also guaranteed the right to a jury trial by the Sixth
Amendment. This right, however, may be renounced, and the accused may opt to
enter a guilty plea or have a bench trial before a single judge. In nearly all
states and the federal system, a jury must reach a unanimous decision, even
though it is not required under the Constitution. In the event of a hung jury a
jury that cannot reach a verdict, the prosecution must determine whether to
retry the accused.
- Criminal Trial Process
Even the United States follows an adversarial system where both counsels argue
in support of their clients. According to the Constitution, the fact-finder
whether a jury or a judge must conclude that the prosecution has shown each and
every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Until a defendant's guilt
is established, they are assumed innocent. The right to call up witnesses and
question them shall be exercised by both parties. Fifth Amendment objections may
prevent witnesses from testifying, but the prosecution may provide immunity in
order to force a statement. Trials are used to settle only 10% or fewer of
criminal cases in the United States. Plea agreements are among the other methods
used to resolve most cases.
In the US, lawmakers, courts, parole boards, probation agencies, and, in certain
situations, sentencing commissions are among the organizations involved in the
sentencing process. Criminal punishments are set by legislatures; state statutes
vary and are frequently specific to a given crime. Following a hearing where the
prosecution and defense team present their recommended punishments, the actual
sentencing takes place.
The victim or their representatives, along with the
defendant, may occasionally address the court as well. The probation department,
which independently looks into the defendant's past, criminal history, and other
pertinent information, provides advice to the judge.
As long as the punishment
is within the statutory range, the judge need not make formal factual findings
or provide justification for it. This range of sentences is not appealable. The
Eighth Amendment forbids both high bail and unusually harsh penalties. In 1972,
the ban on cruel and unusual punishments resulted in the repeal of the death
penalty laws in 38 states. Following Supreme Court rulings, almost forty states
enacted new death penalty legislation. Congress or state laws cannot be in
conflict with the Constitution.
Judges in American criminal courts most frequently impose probation, which
spares offenders from jail time provided they follow the guidelines and
conditions established by the probation department. Judges set the terms of
probation, which are frequently many years long, and can impose certain
requirements, including ongoing education, work, or participation in drug
treatment programs, especially for young offenders.
More than 2 million people were jailed in American prisons and jails on any
given day in 2004; imprisonment is still a common form of punishment. Both the
federal government and each state run their own prison systems, categorizing
criminals according to a range of criteria and allocating them to the proper
security tiers. Forfeiture of property has become a much more common criminal
penalty, especially in drug and organized crime cases. Courts have the authority
to order defendants to forfeit property, including cars, houses, and money, that
was used to commit crimes or that was obtained via illegal activity.
Fines are an additional alternative for sentencing; however, they are not as
commonly applied. The maximum fines have significantly increased in recent
years. As per the ruling of the Supreme Court, nonpayment of fines does not
carry the risk of incarceration unless it is considered deliberate. Fines are
usually added to other punishments rather than being the only kind.
Historically, they have been less expensive than hiring a professional criminal
defense attorney, although their maximum amounts have recently increased.
In summary, magistrates play a critical role in the criminal justice system,
especially when it comes to guaranteeing a fair trial and protecting the rights
of the accused. Magistrates are essential to maintaining justice values,
preventing law enforcement from abusing the legal system and supervising the
The magistrate's duties encompass not only informing the
accused of their rights but also supervising remands, guaranteeing the accused's
prompt appearance, and apprising them of their entitlement to bail. In the US,
there are several federal and state criminal justice systems that work with
different law enforcement organizations, prosecutors, and courts. In the United
States, the adversarial system-in which parties exchange arguments and
supporting documentation-dominates, and magistrates play a crucial role in the
A public trial, a fast trial, a jury trial, and the right to
counsel are all essential components of the criminal justice system in the
United States. The adversarial paradigm used in American criminal trials places
a strong emphasis on the presenting of evidence, cross-examination, and the
tenet of innocence until proven guilty.
Legislatures, courts, and probation
agencies work together to determine sentences, which can include everything from
fines and property forfeiture to probation and jail time. Upholding
constitutional rights, guaranteeing fair trials, and applying reasonable and
balanced punishments are highly valued in the American judicial system.
persistent obstacles such case backlogs, the criminal justice system continues
to evolve and is effective because of the work of magistrates, judges, and legal
practitioners. The functioning of the criminal justice systems in India and the
United States is fundamentally based on the ideals of justice, fairness, and the
preservation of individual rights.
- All India Judges' Association v. Union of India, (1992) 1 SCC 119
- Khatri II v. State of Bihar (1981) 1 SCC 627
- Sheela Barse v. State of Maharashtra (1983) 2 SCC 96
- Hussainara Khatoon V Case (1980) 1 SCC 108
- P. Sathasivam, Role of Judicial Officers in Criminal Justice Administration Tamil Nadu State Judicial Academy for the Newly Recruited Civil Judges (2023). SCC Online
- James B Jacob, Criminal Justice in the United States: A Primer (2007),
link (last visited 2023)