What are the Criminal Courts?

Criminal Courts are established to impart justice to people and punish the offenders that go against the law. The hierarchy is established according to the rule book of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Supreme Court is the highest criminal court in India.

This is an important topic for IAS Exam aspirants.

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What are the various classes of Criminal Courts in India?

The various classes of criminal courts in India are:

  1. Supreme Court
  2. High Courts
  3. The Courts of Session
  4. The Judicial Magistrates of the First Class, and, in any metropolitan area; the Metropolitan Magistrates.
  5. The Judicial Magistrates of the Second Class
  6. The Executive Magistrates

To know in detail about the Indian Judiciary, aspirants can visit the linked article.

Describe in brief, the Jurisdiction of Subordinate criminal courts in India.

  • The Sessions Court headed by the Sessions Judge is the highest Criminal Court in the district. As the District Judge also functions as the Sessions Judge, he is known as the District and Sessions Judge. It may pass any sentence authorized by provisions of law, but a death sentence, passed by it, has to be confirmed by the High Court.
  • An Assistant Sessions Judge has the power to sentence a person to 10 years imprisonment.
  • A First Class Magistrate can pass a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding five years or a fine not exceeding one thousand rupees.
  • A Second Class Magistrate can pass a sentence of imprisonment up to one year or a fine of up to Rs. 1000/.

Related Links

International Criminal Court (ICC) The Indian Penal Code (IPC)
Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) Judicial Review
25 Important Supreme Court Judgements for UPSC Judicial Activism

What is the difference between civil and criminal court?

Civil Courts in India deal with cases related to disputes between two parties related to the cases mentioned below.

  • Money/Debt
  • property
  • housing
  • Marriage and children – such as divorce, child custody, child support, or guardianship

Criminal courts are established to solve serious crimes such as assault, robbery, murder, arson, rape and other kinds of crimes.

For the detailed Difference between Civil Law and Criminal Law, visit the linked article and know the major differences between the two.

Aspirants can check the list of high courts in India, at the linked article.

Frequently Asked Questions on Criminal Courts


Q 1. What are the Criminal Courts?

Ans. Criminal Courts are established to impart justice to people and punish the offenders that go against the law.

Q 2. How does a criminal court work?

Ans. There are three stages with respect to criminal court working in India. These include inception, trial and punishment.

Q 3. What the different types of cases which are heard in criminal courts?

Ans. Given below are the different types of cases heard in Criminal Courts:

  • Robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Financial Fraud
  • Murder or other criminal acts
  • Conspiracy for a crime

Q 4. What is the hierarchy of criminal courts in India?

Ans. In India, the most authoritative criminal court is the Supreme Court of India. It is followed by the High Court, Sessions Court and finally the Judicial and Executive Magistrates.

Related Links:

UPSC 2023 Calendar UPSC Books
UPSC Syllabus UPSC Notes
NCERT Notes For UPSC UPSC Prelims
UPSC 2023 UPSC Current Affairs
Indian Judiciary High Courts


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