A Sub-Divisional Office (seat of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate) in West Bengal, India
A Sub-Divisional Office (seat of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate) in West Bengal, India

A Sub-Divisional Magistrate is a title which is sometimes given to the head official of a district subdivision, an administrative officer that is sometimes below the level of district, depending on a country's government structure. SDM is generally an officer of state civil service. Additionally, Indian Administrative Service officers selected from UPSC also serve as SDM in their training period. They are also known as Deputy/Assistant Collector or Assistant Commissioner in several Indian states. Each district is divided into tehsil. It is empowered by tax inspector, Collector or District Magistrate. All subdivisions (tehsils) are under the charge of SDM (Sub Divisional Magistrate).[1]

In India, a sub-divisional magistrate has several executive and magisterial roles to play under Criminal Procedure Code 1973.[2][3]


Revenue functions

Revenue functions involve maintenance of land records, conduct of revenue cases, carrying out of demarcation and mutations, settlement operations and functioning as custodian of public land. Sub Divisional Magistrates are designated as Assistant Collectors and Revenue Assistants and are primarily responsible for day to day revenue work. The subordinate revenue staff consisting of Girdavars, Kanungos (Revenue Inspectors) and Patwaries are supervised by Tehsildars who are involved in field level revenue activities and mutations. They are also empowered to issue various kinds of statutory certificates including SC/ST & OBC, Domicile, Nationality etc. Registration of Property documents, sale deeds, power of attorneys, share certificates and all other documents which need to be compulsorily registered as per law is made at Sub Registrar's Office which are nine in numbers. Deputy Commissioners are Registrars for their respective districts and exercise supervisory control over the Sub Registrars.[4]

Magisterial functions

Sub Divisional Magistrates exercise powers of Executive Magistrates. In this role they are responsible for operating preventive Sections of Code of Criminal Procedure.[5] They also carry out enquiries in cases of unnatural deaths of women within seven years of marriage and issue directions to the Police for registration of case, if required.

Sub Divisional Magistrates are empowered to conduct enquiries into custodial deaths including deaths in Police Lock Up, Jails, Women Homes etc. The Officers of this Department are also expected to act as eyes and ears of the Government and conduct enquiries into all major accidents including major fires incidents, riots and natural calamities etc.[6]

Disaster Management

This department is given the primary responsibility for relief and rehabilitation operations in any calamity whether natural or man-made. It is also responsible for coordinating and implementing disaster management plan for natural and chemical disasters and awareness generation programme on disaster preparedness is being carried out with the assistance of United Nations Development

See also


  1. ^ "Who is a SDM, salary and other facilities". hindi asianet news.
  2. ^ "Roles and responsibilities of a SDM". Jagran josh.
  3. ^ "Supreme court refuses to put restraint on CrPC 144 from time to time". The Hindu.
  4. ^ "SDM in administrative setup".
  5. ^ "Background of section 144 - A vestige of colonial rule". thehindu.com.
  6. ^ "Executive Magistrate's powers (SDM and DM) under CrPC 144, prohibitory orders". The Indian Express.