Since the early years of British Rule in India, the officers of Provincial Civil Service were integral part of civil administration and besides other duties, they were vested with Magisterial of exercising criminal jurisdiction in respective of District or Subdivisions. The role of officers of Bengal Provincial Civil Service always received high appreciation of the Authority for their worth and ability as public servants . Successive Governors of Bengal and other policy makers of British India emphasized the role of uncovenanted civil servants, then designated as Deputy Magistrate & Deputy Collector and Sub-Deputy Magistrates & Sub-Deputy Collector in Revenue Administration and in the administration of Justice. Act XV of 1843 underlined the importance of these officers by vesting Magisterial duties and bringing machinery of Government nearer to people. The Criminal Procedure Code 1898 with several amendments which was the guiding code for all criminal courts empowered Deputy Magistrates and Sub-Deputy Magistrates to act as Magistrates of criminal courts with 1st Class, 2nd Class or 3rd Class Magisterial powers till 1974 for trial of cases under Indian Penal Code. In the above process about 200 BCS / WBCS officers had the opportunity to perform magisterial duties in District and Sub-Divisional Magistrate Courts and they contributed their best in enforcing criminal justice. Deployment of these officers were also very beneficial in respect of cadre management.
The Criminal Procedure Code,1898 underwent major amendment by Cr.P.C, 1973 which came into effect on 01.04.1974. As a result of amendment, the scope of WBCS (Executive) Officers in performing magisterial works under IPC was taken away and a revised set of criminal courts and allocation of magisterial functions between the Judicial Magistrates and Executive Magistrates was introduced. The Executive Magistrates are now empowered to try some preventive Sections under Cr. PC for maintaining peace and public order while the Judicial Magistrates appointed from Judicial Service perform magisterial functions in regard to offences under IPC. The Executive Magistrates are under control of State Government while the Judicial Magistrates are under the control of the High Court to bring about seperation of the Judiciary from Executive.
Whatever may be the improvement of the administration of Justice under the present scheme of things, the fact remains that a large number of WBCS (Executive) officers are now deprived of trying cases under IPC which they used to perform for more than a century.