Case precedent: Meaning of plaintiff, Defendant, petitioner, respondents, public prosecutors, advocate General, Solicitor general of India, Judicial Magistrate of First class, civil Judge, Sessions (criminal court judge), Metropolitan magistrate, economic offences

19/07/2021 0 By indiafreenotes

General Principles of Precedents:

The High Courts in India are bound by the law declared by the Supreme Court. Decisions of the Supreme Court are binding only so long as they have not been overruled by the Supreme Court. The decisions of a High Court are binding on all the courts below it within its jurisdiction. The judgment of a particular High Court, is not binding on other High Courts. The High Courts are the courts of co-ordinate jurisdiction. Therefore, the decision of one High Court is only of persuasive value for other High Courts. In High Courts generally appeals are heard by a Single Judge, some appeals such as murder, specials appeals etc. are heard by two judges. Different High Courts have their different rules in this respect. When an appeal involves some important and complicated point of law, it is referred to a Larger Bench. A Bench of two judges is called the Division Bench. Three or more judges constitute a Full Bench. The decisions of a larger bench are binding on a smaller bench. A bench is not bound by the decisions of another bench of equal authority.


A plaintiff (Π in legal shorthand) is the party who initiates a lawsuit (also known as an action) before a court. By doing so, the plaintiff seeks a legal remedy. If this search is successful, the court will issue judgment in favor of the plaintiff and make the appropriate court order (e.g., an order for damages). “Plaintiff” is the term used in civil cases in most English-speaking jurisdictions, the notable exception being England and Wales, where a plaintiff has, since the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules in 1999, been known as a “claimant”, but that term also has other meanings. In criminal cases, the prosecutor brings the case against the defendant, but the key complaining party is often called the “complainant”.

In some jurisdictions, a lawsuit is commenced by filing a summons, claim form or a complaint. These documents are known as pleadings, that set forth the alleged wrongs committed by the defendant or defendants with a demand for relief. In other jurisdictions, the action is commenced by service of legal process by delivery of these documents on the defendant by a process server; they are only filed with the court subsequently with an affidavit from the process server that they had been given to the defendant according to the rules of civil procedure.


A defendant is a person who is the party either accused of committing a crime in criminal prosecution or against whom some type of civil relief is being sought in a civil case.

Terminology varies from one jurisdiction to another. In Scots law, the terms “accused” or “panel” are used instead in criminal proceedings and “defender” in civil proceedings. Another term in use is “respondent”.


A petitioner is a person who pleads with governmental institution for a legal remedy or a redress of grievances, through use of a petition. The petitioner may seek a legal remedy if the state or another private person has acted unlawfully. In this case, the petitioner, often called a plaintiff, will submit a plea to a court to resolve the dispute. On the other hand, the petitioner may be complaining against the law it to “… make no law… abridging… the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances”.

A petitioner need not seek a change to an existing law. Often, petitioners speak against (or in support of) legislative proposals as this progress.


A respondent is a person who is called upon to issue a response to a communication made by another. The term is used in legal contexts, in survey methodology, and in psychological conditioning. In legal usage, this specifically refers to the defendant in a legal proceeding commenced by a petition, or to an appellate, or the opposing party, in an appeal of a decision by an initial fact-finder.

Public prosecutors

A Public Prosecutor is considered as the agent of the state to represent the interest of common people in the criminal justice system. The prosecution of the accused is the duty of the state but not individually the duty of the aggrieved party. They are appointed in almost all countries. The Public Prosecutor is defined in Section 24 of Cr.P.C. They serve as the basic principle of Rule of Law i.e. auld alteram partem (no person shall be condemned unheard).

Reasons for the Appointment of Public Prosecutor

Whenever any crime is committed against a group or individual, it is assumed that it has been committed against society. It is the duty of the state to provide justice to any group of society or person who is affected by the crime. In India, it is necessary that the criminal justice system should function within the limits of the Indian Constitution, which means that it is necessary for the Public Prosecutor to act in accordance with the principles of:

  • Equality before law
  • Protection against double jeopardy
  • Protection against self-incrimination
  • Protection against ex-post law
  • Right to life and personal liberty except procedure established by law
  • Presumption of innocence until proven guilty
  • Arrest and detention must be in accordance with the provisions of Cr.P.C.
  • Equal protection of laws
  • Speedy trial
  • Prohibition of discrimination
  • Right of accused to remain silent

Advocate General

In India, an advocate general is a legal advisor to a state government. The post is created by the Constitution of India and corresponds to that of Attorney General for India at the union government level. The Governor of each state shall appoint a person who is qualified to be appointed as judge of High Court as the Advocate General.

Solicitor general of India

The Solicitor General of India is subordinate to the Attorney General for India. They are the second law officer of the country, assists the Attorney General, and is assisted by Additional Solicitors General for India. Currently, the Solicitor General of India is Tushar Mehta. Like the Attorney General for India, the Solicitor General and the Additional Solicitors General advise the Government and appear on behalf of the Union of India in terms of the Law Officers (Terms and Conditions) Rules, 1972. However, unlike the post of Attorney General for India, which is a Constitutional post under Article 76 of the Constitution of India, the posts of the Solicitor General and the Additional Solicitors General are merely statutory. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet(ACC) recommends the appointment and president officially appoints the Solicitor General. The proposal for appointment of Solicitor General, Additional Solicitor General is generally moved at the level of Joint secretary/Law Secretary in the Department of Legal Affairs and after obtaining the approval of the Minister of Law & Justice, the proposal goes to the ACC and then to the president.

Judicial Magistrate of First class

Courts of Judicial Magistrate of First Class are at the second lowest level of the Criminal Court structure in India. According to the Section 11 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPc), a Court of Judicial Magistrate of First Class may be established by the State Government in consultation with the High Court of the respective state at such places in the district and in any number by a notification.

According to Section 15 of the CrPc, a judicial magistrate is under the general control of the Sessions Judge and is subordinate to the Chief Judicial Magistrate.

According to Section 29 of the CrPc., a Judicial Magistrate of First Class may pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or of fine not exceeding ten thousand rupees or of both.

Civil Judge

The may by general or special order invest any Civil Judge within such local limits and subject to such pecuniary limitation as may be prescribed in such order, with all or any of the powers of a District Judge or a District Court as the case may be under any special law.

Every order of the District Judge passed on appeal under subsection (2) from the order of a Civil Judge shall be subject to an appeal to the High Court under the rules contained in the Code of Civil Procedure applicable to appeals from appellate decrees.

The Judges of such Subordinate Courts shall be appointed by the Government and shall be called Civil Judges.

Sessions (criminal court judge)

Sessions court has the power to impose the full range of penalties for criminal acts, including the death penalty.

Originally, the Sessions Courts heard each case continuously in sessions and delivered judgements immediately on completion of arguments. Hence the name ‘Sessions Court’ meant that the cases would be disposed off expeditiously. One of the important reasons for delays in the Indian and Pakistani Judicial System, is that the concept of ‘Sessions’ is observed only in breach due to repeated adjournments, loop holes in the case papers and backlog of cases. The Government of India has not found a solution to this endemic problem.

Sections 225 to 237 of The Code of Criminal Procedure deal with the procedure in trials before a Court of Sessions. In case the office of the Sessions Judge is vacant, the High Court can make necessary arrangements for any urgent matter or application that is pending before the court mentioned above to be dealt with by an Additional or an Assistant Sessions Judge or in their absence, by a Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM).

Metropolitan magistrate

The High court appoints Chief Metropolitan Magistrate for every metropolitan court. The High court may also appoint Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate for an area, with all or any of the powers of a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, as may be directed by the High Court. Other than Chief Metropolitan Magistrate and Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, there are also Metropolitan Magistrates also known as Magistrate of the first class who work as subordinates of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate. Any two or more metropolitan magistrates may, subject to the rules made by the CMM, sit together as a bench. All metropolitan magistrates including the ACMMs and benches of general magistrates are subordinate to the CMM.

Economic offences

The term economic offences define those crimes which are of an economic nature. These offences are committed while in the course of some kind of economic or business activity. Although in some parts of the world, like the United States, the term economic offences have been defined, a rigorous definition of this term is still lacking in India. This is the reason why it is difficult to pinpoint the kinds of crimes that come under the term of economic offences in India.

The National Crimes Report Bureau of India still classifies only specified acts under the term economic offences. Activities like company frauds, counterfeiting of coins, and some of the terrorist activities even come under the term Economic offences in the Indian context provided by the NCRB. While certain explanations are provided for this term it still lacks a proper definition which is not vague or ambiguous in nature.

Types of Economic Crimes

Economic offences in India can be classified into three categories. These categories of economic offences are:

  • Emerging technological economic crimes that include credit card frauds, counterfeiting, cyber crimes etc.
  • Traditional economic crime which includes corruption, smuggling, bogus imports etc.
  • Crimes through which proceeds of transnational organized crime are transmitted abroad like money laundering.