Careers360 Logo
Difference Between Judge and Magistrate

Difference Between Judge and Magistrate

Edited By Marar Sumeet Sudarshan | Updated on Sep 23, 2023 02:31 PM IST

Difference Between Judge and Magistrate: The Judiciary is one of the pillars of democracy meant to uphold the law of the land. In this regard, a judge and a magistrate may appear to be the same but there are differences present between the two terms. The difference between magistrate and judge lies in the fact that judges preside over the courts namely - the supreme court, high court or the sessions court and pass judgements to resolve conflicts between parties that may have a bearing on the law of the land in the country. Their jurisdiction is much wider.

A magistrate, on the other hand, has limited powers and is appointed by the high court on instructions from the state government after due deliberation. They are usually selected from the judicial service exam of the state including judicial officers such as first class magistrate and second class magistrate.

Who is a Judge?

Section 19 of the Indian Penal Code defines a judge as any person who is officially designated as a judge. The judge also refers to any person who is empowered to give a definitive judgement in a legal proceeding, which if not contested would be considered definitive. The order of the judge has finality or authoritativeness. They possess a degree in LLB and have vast experience in a career in the legal field. Judges of the high courts and the Supreme Court are appointed by the President of India on the recommendations of the collegium.

Examples of judges can include:

  • A collector having authority in a case under Act 10 of 1859 is a judge

  • A Magistrate with jurisdiction over an offence for which he has the authority to impose a fine or term of imprisonment, with or without appearance, is a Judge

Who is a Magistrate?

Section 11 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that :

  1. In every district (not being a metropolitan area) there shall be established as many Courts of Judicial Magistrates of the first class and of the second class, and at such places, as the State Government may, after consultation with the High Court, by notification, specify.

The provision mentioned above comes with a condition that the State Government may, after consultation with the High Court, establish, for any local area, one or more Special Courts of Judicial Magistrates of the first class or of the second class to try any particular case or particular class of cases. Further, it states that, where any such Special Court is established, no other Court of Magistrate in the local area shall have jurisdiction to try any case or class of cases for the trial of which such Special Court of Judicial Magistrate has been established

  1. The presiding officers of such Courts shall be appointed by the High Court.

  1. The High Court may, whenever it appears to it to be expedient or necessary, confer the powers of a Judicial Magistrate of the first class or of the second class on any member of the Judicial Service of the State, functioning as a Judge in a Civil Court.

Section 12 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that the high court can also appoint a judicial magistrate of the first class to be the chief judicial magistrate.

Section 13 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that when requested by the state or central government, the high court can also grant to a person who currently holds or has held a position in the government in the past all the powers that can be conferred on a judicial magistrate. Such persons are called special magistrates and are appointed for a term not exceeding one year. These powers are granted with the condition that the said person possesses the qualification as the high court may specify in its rules.

Magistrate and Judge - Key Differences

Particulars

Magistrate

Judge

Appointment

Appointed by state government or High Court

By President of India

Education qualification

Degree from a recognized university

Law degree is mandatory

Jurisdiction

Limited jurisdiction within the state

Wider jurisdiction includes power to impose death sentence on a guilty

Nature of cases

Magistrate handles small cases

Judge due to his wider jurisdiction and power handles more complex cases

Magistrate vs. Judge: Who is more powerful?

Who is more powerful, the judge or magistrate? To answer this, it is important to see their jurisdiction!

Section 14 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that the jurisdiction of the judicial magistrate will cover the entire district or within the limits as specified by the Chief judicial magistrate

Section 15 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that every chief judicial magistrate will be subordinate to the sessions judge and that every judicial magistrate will be subordinate to the chief judicial magistrate subject to the regulation of the sessions judge. The chief judicial magistrate will from time to time frame rules or issue orders for the business to be conducted by the judicial magistrate

As per section 28 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a high court or a sessions judge can pass the following sentences:

  • Any sentence permitted by law may be imposed by the High Court.

  • Any legal sentence may be imposed by a Sessions Judge or Additional Sessions Judge, but the High Court must affirm any death sentence imposed by the Sessions or additional sessions judge.

  • An Assistant Sessions Judge may impose any legal punishment, with the exception of the capital penalty, life in prison, and sentences that last longer than ten years.

Section 29 of the Code of Criminal Procedure specifies the sentences which a sessions judge can pass

  • Any legal punishment may be imposed by the Court of a Chief Judicial Magistrate, with the exception of the death penalty, life in prison, and sentences of more than seven years.

  • A sentence of up to three years in prison, a fine of up to 10,000 rupees, or both may be imposed by the court of a magistrate of the first class.

  • A punishment of up to one year in prison, a fine of up to two thousand rupees, or both may be imposed by the Court of Magistrate of the Second Class.

  • The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court shall have all of the authority of the Chief Judicial Magistrate's Court, the Metropolitan Magistrate's Court, and the Court of a Magistrate of the First Class.

Also check - Difference Between a Lawyer an Advocate

Magistrate and Judge Difference - Salary

As per data from the Department of Justice, under Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India, the salary of the top judges is as follows

Judge vs. Magistrate Salary

Chief Justice of India

Rs. 2,80,000 pm

Judges of Supreme Court

Rs. 2,50,000 pm

Chief Justice of High Court

Rs. 2,50,000 pm

Judges of High Court

Rs. 2,25,000 pm

The district judge earns a salary of around Rs. 1.88 Lakhs per month as per the second judicial pay commission.

Often, the Civil Judge (Jr. Division) recruited under the judicial service acts as First Class Magistrate and Civil Judge (Sr. Division) recruited under the judicial service acts as Chief judicial magistrate. State governments also appoint retired government officers who possess law degrees to act as special magistrates.

On the recommendation of the Second Judicial Pay Commission, the salary for judicial officers has been revised. The salary of a Civil Judge (Jr. Division ) is around 1 Lakh per month, while the salary of the Civil Judge (Sr. Division) will be Rs.1.35 lakh per month. Special magistrates will have a minimum remuneration of Rs.30000 per month.

Also Read: How to Become a Judge in India After LLB

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

1. Who is a judge?

As per Section 19 of the Indian Penal Code, a judge refers to any person who is empowered to give a definitive judgement in a legal proceeding, which if not contested would be considered definitive. The order of the judge has finality or authoritativeness.

2. Who is a Magistrate?

A magistrate is a person appointed by the high court and subordinated to the district sessions judge with limited powers and jurisdiction to preside over cases.

3. Who is more powerful - Judge or Magistrate ?

The judge has wider jurisdiction and more powers. The magistrate works under the sessions judge.

4. Who earns more, judge or magistrate?

The payscale of the judge is higher than the magistrate.

 

5. Can a magistrate be called a judge?

No, magistrate and judge are different from each other. A magistrate is a judicial officer with limited powers compared to a Judge.

Articles

Get answers from students and experts
Back to top