A rough hierarchy of criminal courts goes this way, starting from Magistrate’s Court -> Sessions Court -> High Court -> Supreme Court. We further classify them as JMFC, Metropolitan Magistrate, Additional Sessions, Assistant etc., not going in detail here.
This blogpost will help you know in short, the internal structure and basic working of a lowest criminal court i.e. Magistrate’s Court from inside. I haven’t found any strict guidelines or regulations from the concerned judicial authorities regarding internal structure of a court.
I have tried my best to put my observations as to working of a Magistrate Court in Mumbai as below. There may be slight differences with regard to the work procedures in other jurisdictions.
Nowhere did I find a defined ideal structure of a court. But, every court will have similar office bearers as described below and also have a similar internal structure as stated below.
- So, as you enter the courtroom, you will see some chairs/benches for the public to sit.
- In front of those chairs you will see some chairs with a big table, this space is reserved for lawyers.
- Ahead of this table is a wooden bar partition, this space is for the concerned Police authorities assisting the court. The police officials also known as “Karkoon” assist the court by providing information from their side, ex: Submitting Summons/Warrant report, Charge Sheet, information related to witnesses…etc.
Note: These police officials may not necessarily be in their uniform. Sometimes they will be in civil dress too.
- Just beside this place(right side or left side) you will see a witness box.
- Ahead of all this is a raised platform where the Judge presides.
- There is a Stenographer sitting beside the judge who types the judgements, orders, evidence and other stuff which the judge dictates and an Interpreter which helps the judge by updating about a case and calling out matters as per their serial no. listed on that day’s board.
- You will also see a person in white shirt & pant, this person is the Peon also known as “Pattedar” in Mumbai . This person does all the odd jobs there like taking out briefs, pulling out the judge’s chair when the judge gets up,etc.
- So, a normal day of a court starts by the Judge entering the court….Interpreter calls out the matter….Police officials update….Witness if present is called out…Lawyers argue…Judge dictates…Stenographer types…Interpreter calls out next matter…
Every courtroom has a Judge’s Chamber and a Court’s office attached to it or somewhere near to that courtroom. In this office some clerks and a Judicial Clerk (JC) perform all the administrative work of the court.
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