Summon & Warrant


The two most important modes for compelling the attendance of any person before a criminal court is summon and warrant.  A summon is basically a document in writing which is issued by the court in duplicate signed by the presiding officer bearing the seal of the court. Under section 61-69 under the code of criminal procedure the provisions relating to summons are given. It has been clearly stated that every summon shall be served by a police officer or by an officer of the court issuing it or any other public servant. In contrast to the code of civil procedure summons are basically served by the process server of the court. The general rule applies that summons shall be served personally on the person summoned by delivering or tendering the duplicate copy to the person summoned. It is also clearly mentioned under the code of criminal procedure that if a summon cannot be served to the accused on grounds of abscondence or if the accused be not found then the duplicate copy of the summon may be delivered  or be left with any adult members of the family of the accused. In case of a criminal complaint under section 200 of CRPC made against the government the summon may be served to the head of the office in which the person is found to be employed & the same procedure is applied in case of corporations. When  summon to be served outside the local jurisdiction then the court issuing the summon shall ordinarily send such summon in duplicate to a magistrate within whose jurisdiction the person summon resides.

Persons to whom a summon is served

  1. Accused
  2. Witness
  3. Person against whom an application under 125 of CRPC is filed

Warrant is basically a document issued by the court for compelling the attendance or arresting any person or for search of any place which the court requires. Warrant is having a sanctional force to arrange someone for the production of such person before the court whereas a summon is merely a notice issued by a court for the attendance of any person. Warrant are basically of two types under the Code of Criminal Proceedings:

  1. Warrant of arrest
  2. Search warrant

Warrant of arrest is basically issued by the court in case of non cognizable offence where the police has no authority to arrest without warrant but in case of cognizable offence the police has the full authority to arrest any person without waiting for an order by the magistrate. Search warrant is basically issued by the court in the course of Criminal Proceedings giving directions to police officers to search any placer or any area which the court thinks fit for the purpose of rendering proper justice. There are various relevant provisions relating to warrant of arrest and search warrant under CRPC which clearly makes crystal clear that when and how the court shall issue the warrant and how the warrant to be executed for proper course of the proceedings.

Subhojit Chakraborty

Asst. Professor of Law



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