Deputy commissioner (India)

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The Deputy Commissioner (DC) or District Magistrate (DM) or District Collector or District Magistrate and Collector or Deputy Development Commissioner is the head of the revenue and development administration of an Indian district. The DC is required to be an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer who is in charge of governmental assets in his district of jurisdiction. The DC is responsible for collecting revenue within the district as it pertains to various Governmental enactments such as Stamp and Registration Act, Land Reforms Act, Irrigation Act, Excise Act and Public Health Act.


The responsibility of general administration of the district lies with the Deputy Commissioner. He is the executive head and has threefold roles as (i) Deputy Commissioner,(ii) District Collector and (iii) District Magistrate.

He is assisted by the following officers for carrying out day to day work in various fields:--

  1. Additional Deputy Commissioner
  2. Assistant Commissioner (general)
  3. Assistant Commissioner (grievances)
  4. Executive Magistrate
  5. District Revenue officer
  6. District Transport officer
  7. District Development and panchayat officer
  8. Civil defense officer
  9. Urban ceiling officer

The deputy commissioner is the chief revenue officer as District Collector and is responsible for collection of revenue and other government dues recoverable as arrears of land revenue. He deals with the natural calamities like drought, unseasonal rains, hailstorms, floods and fire etc. District Collectors are officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and are the most powerful government officials of the district. They are entrusted with the task of handling law and order, revenue collection, taxation, the control of planning permission, and the handling of natural and man-made emergencies. A collector was a crucially important colonial officer placed at the district level and entrusted with the responsibility of revenue collection and other civil duties.District Collector also liaisons with the I-T Department during revenue administration and elections of the states.The Deputy Commissioner is looked upon as the eyes and ears of the government in such areas as law and order, land administration, disaster management and elections,though election observers from the Indian Revenue Service take charge of both general and local elections. The Deputy Commissioner works under the general guidance and supervision of the Divisional Commissioner.

Under the Registration Act the District Collector exercise the powers of registrar of the district and he controls and supervises the work of registration of deeds. He also function as marriage officer under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. Further under the Cinematograph Act, the District Magistrate is the licencing authority in his jurisdiction. The administration of the police in a district is vested in the district superintendent, but under the general direction of the district magistrate as per provisions of section 4 of the Indian Police Act, 1861.

Rule 1.15 of the Punjab Police Rules, 1934, also provides the powers of district magistrate as under:--

The District Magistrate is the head of the criminal administration of the district and the police force is the instrument provided by government to enable him to enforce his authority and fulfill his responsibility for the maintenance of law & order. The police force in a is, therefore, placed by law under the general control and direction of the district magistrate, who is responsible that it carries out its duties in such a manner that effective protection is afforded to the public and against lawlessness and disorder."

The District Magistrate is thus responsible for the maintenance of law & order within the limit of his jurisdiction. He is conferred with very wide powers by the law, which if used prudently can be very effective in maintaining peace and tranquillity. The police force is mainly an instrument provided by law for the district magistrate. He can impose restriction on the movement of unlawful assembly under Section 144 CrPC. and can also impose curfew keeping in view the situation.

He is authorised to inspect the offices/courts of sub divisional officers (civil), tehsildars, naib tehsildars, treasuries, sub treasuries, jails, hospitals, dispensaries, schools, blocks, police stations, second class local bodies, improvement trusts and all other offices of Punjab government, the A.C.Rs of whose heads of offices he is required to write. In this way, he has effective control over the administration.

The Deputy Commissioner holds courts and hears appeals under the following acts against the order of sub divisional officer (civil), passed as Assistant Collector 1st grade and sales Commissioner and settlement Commissioner:--

  1. Under the Land Revenue Act,1887.
  2. Under the Punjab Tenancy Act,1887.
  3. Displaced Persons (Compensation & Rehabilitation) Act,1954.
  4. Punjab Package Deal Properties (Disposal) Act,1976.
  5. Urban Land (Ceiling & Regulations) Act, 1976.

Besides it, he decides the lambardari cases.

Additional Deputy Commissioner[edit]

The post of Additional Deputy Commissioner has been created to assist the Deputy Commissioner in his day-to-day working. The Additional Deputy Commissioner enjoys the same powers as that of Deputy Commissioner under the rules.

See also[edit]