Deputy Commissioner (Pakistan)

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Deputy Commissioner (popularly abbreviated as "DC") or District Magistrate is a chief administrative, revenue officer and representative of government in district or an administrative sub-unit of a division.[1] He belongs to the commission of Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS).[2] They performed their duties under the supervision of a divisional commissioner.


District administration in Pakistan is a legacy of the British Raj. District collectors were members of the British Indian Civil Service and were charged with supervising general administration in the district.[2]

Warren Hastings introduced the office of the district collector in 1772. Sir George Campbell, lieutenant-governor of Bengal from 1871-1874, intended "to render the heads of districts no longer the drudges of many departments and masters of none, but in fact the general controlling authority over all departments in each district."[3][4][5]

The office of a collector during the British rule in Indian subcontinent held multiple responsibilities – as collector, he was the head of the revenue organization, charged with registration, alteration, and partition of holdings; the settlement of disputes; the management of indebted estates; loans to agriculturists, and famine relief. As district magistrate, he exercised general supervision over the inferior courts and in particular, directed the police work.[6] The office was meant to achieve the "peculiar purpose" of collecting revenue and of keeping the peace. The superintendent of police (SP), inspector general of jails, the surgeon general, the divisional forest officer (DFO) and the chief engineer (CE) had to inform the collector of every activity in their departments.[3][4][5]

Until the later part of the nineteenth century, no native was eligible to become a district collector. But with the introduction of open competitive examinations for the British Indian Civil Service, the office was opened to natives. Anandaram Baruah, an eminent scholar of Sanskrit and the sixth Indian and the first Assamese ICS officer, became the third Indian to be appointed a district magistrate, the first two being Romesh Chandra Dutt and Sripad Babaji Thakur respectively.[3][4][5]

The district continued to be the unit of administration after Indian Partition and independence of Pakistan in 1947. Initially, the role of the district collector remained largely unchanged, except for the separation of most judicial powers to judicial officers of the district. But during the Presidency of Pervaz Musharraf, the office of deputy commissioner was replaced with District Commissioner Officer (DCO).[2] After his presidency, provincial governments of Pakistan again established this office through constitutional amendments.[7][8][9]


The responsibilities of deputy commissioner are vary from province to province. In Pakistan, these responsibilities were remain changing with the passage of time.[2] However, now the local government law of all provisional governments is similar to a large extent to the law of Punjab Province. Here in follow the duties of deputy commissioner are given:

  • He is responsible for coordination of work of all the sister offices and public facilities in the district.[1]
  • He is responsible for efficient use of public resources for the integrated development and effective service delivery.[1]
  • He is responsible to supervise and coordinate the implementation of the government policies, instructions and guidelines of the Government.[1]
  • He is responsible to support and facilitate the offices and public facilities in the district.[1]
  • Deputy Commissioner on his own, or on the request of the head of a local government or head of the District Police, may convene a meeting for purposes of maintaining public order and public safety and safeguarding public or private properties in the District; and, the decisions taken in the meeting shall be executed by all concerned accordingly.[1]
  • Dupety Commissioner is able to hold court sessions in criminal cases as justice of the peace. Moreover, the performance of the Assistant Commissioner (AC) within the district is also monitored by him.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "The Punjab Civil Administration Act 2017". Retrieved 2019-04-05.
  2. ^ a b c d Noorani, Tasneem (2017-06-22). "District magistrate". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
  3. ^ a b c Maheshwari, S.R. (2000). Indian Administration (6th Edition). New Delhi: Orient Blackswan Private Ltd. pp. 573–597. ISBN 9788125019886.
  4. ^ a b c Singh, G.P. (1993). Revenue administration in India: A case study of Bihar. Delhi: Mittal Publications. pp. 50–124. ISBN 978-8170993810.
  5. ^ a b c Laxmikanth, M. (2014). Governance in India (2nd Edition). Noida: McGraw Hill Education. pp. 6.1–6.6. ISBN 978-9339204785.
  6. ^ Report of the Indian Statutory Commission Volume 1 - Survey. Presented by the Secretary of State for the Home Department to Parliament by Command of His Majesty. May, 1930 AND Volume 2 - Recommendations Presented to the Secretary of State for the Home Department to Parliament by Command of His Majesty. May 1930. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. 1930. p. 255.
  7. ^ a b "Deputy commissioners to replace DCOs in Punjab - Pakistan - Dunya News". Retrieved 2019-04-05.
  8. ^ "DCs blank about powers". The Nation. 2017-01-11. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
  9. ^ "Commissioners, DCs posted in Sindh". The Nation. 2011-07-12. Retrieved 2019-04-05.