Executive Magistrate and Judicial Magistrate are two terms that tend to confuse people easily. They are often understood as similar terms used synonymously. Actually, both of them differ from each not slightly but in many ways.

Judicial Magistrates try all types of criminal cases while Executive Magistrate is an officer of the Executive Branch. The Criminal Procedure Code 1973, gives four categories of magistrates in India. It specifies that in each sessions district there shall be a Chief Judicial Magistrate, a Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, a Judicial Magistrate First class and an Executive Magistrates

1.) A Chief Judicial Magistrate: CJMs hear all types of criminal cases. All magistrates’ courts are controlled by the CJM. The CJM looks over the work of judicial magistrates, but cannot take any action against them. The CJM can only report the misbehaviour of judicial magistrates to the High Court. A court of Chief Judicial Magistrates can sentence a person to jail up to seven years and impose fines of up to any amount. The CJM is the most senior among all magistrates in their district. They can sentence a person up to 7 years and can fine up to Rs.30000.

2.) Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate: They hear cases related to the Dowry Act, EC Act, and other criminal cases. They also maintain and control the judicial court below them. A court of Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrates may sentence a person to imprisonment of up to 3 years and impose fine up to ₹10,000. They can sentence a person to jail for up to 7 years

3.) A judicial magistrate first class:

  • Can sentence a person to jail for up to 5 years and impose a fine of up to Rs 15,000.
  • His court is the second lowest level of criminal court structure in India.

4.) Executive Magistrates:

  • Officer of the executive branch as opposed to the judicial branch.
  • Invested with specific powers under both CrPC & IPC.
  • Cannot try any accused or pass any verdicts.
  • Executive Magistrates can set the bail amount for a person arrested on the orders of a court located outside the local jurisdiction, to avoid police custody, depending on the terms of the warrant.
  • The Executive Magistrate also can pass orders restraining persons from committing a particular act or preventing persons from entering an area. But, the Executive Magistrates can not try an accused person and neither can they pass verdicts for or against them.
  • An executive magistrate is an officer of the executive branch (as opposed to the Judicial branch) who is invested with specific powers under both the CrPC and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). These powers are conferred by sections 107-110, 133, 144, 145 and 147 of CrPC.
  • A first-class Judicial Magistrate is appointed as Chief Judicial Magistrate by the High Court in every district. Chief Judicial Magistrate is completely controlled and coordinated by the session’s judges.

Each District contains the following Judicial Magistrates:

  • a Chief Judicial Magistrate [CJM]
  • One or two Additional Chief Judicial Magistrates [ACJM]
  • One or two Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrates [SDJM]
  • Five Judicial Magistrates 1st class [JM]

There are, in each Administrative District (as opposed to a Sessions District) the following kinds of Executive Magistrates:

  • a District Magistrate(DM)
  • Two or more Additional District Magistrates (ADM)
  • Four or more Subdivisional District Magistrates (SDM)and
  • At least ten Executive Magistrates
Judicial Magistrate Executive Magistrate
01. They adjudicate any disputes between two parties. They are concerned with maintain peace and public order.
02. They are appointed by the High Court of the State. They are appointed by state Government.
03. They fall under Judiciary. They fall under executive.
04. Example: Dispute of cheque bouncing can be adjudicated under them. Example: A public riot can be dispersed by an EM.


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