Difference between procedure of trial for Warrant Case and Summon Case

By | December 4, 2017
Law Notes on CrPC


A police report is defined in this Code and according to these provisions ‘Police report means a report forwarded by a police officer to a Magistrate under sec. 173 of the code. When in any warrant case instituted on a police report the accused appears or is brought before a Magistrate at the commencement of trial. A magistrate shall satisfy himself that he has complied with the provision of the code.

There are two categories in which the criminal cases can be classified on the provisions laid down in the code:-
  1. Summon Case:- Definition of summon case is given in 2(x)means, Summon case means a case relating to an offence not being a warrant case.
  2. Warrant Case: Means a case relating to an offence punishable by death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years.

The criteria of summons case and warrant case determine the duration of punishment in any offence is punishable with fine of Rs.50/- then such matter is summon case, a case of Public Prosecutor v. Hindustan Motors, Andhra Pradesh-1970.

The issue of summon or warrant in any case does not change the nature of the case, supposing warrant is issued in a summon case it does not make the case a warrant case, in case of Padamnath v. Ahmad Dobi-1970.

Procedure of trial of Warrant Case:- lays down the procedure for a warrant case:-

A.Cases must be instituted upon police report:-Sec.238 of the code lays down the procedure of trial of warrant cases instituted upon police report and according to it procedure of trial is as under :-

  1. Copy of the police report and other documents to be provided to the accused on the institution of any warrant case when the accused appears or brought before a magistrate at the commencement of the trial.
  2. Discharge of accused on groundless charges: – On receiving the police report & other documents and providing of the accused the magistrate shall consider each report. He shall be provided a reasonable opportunity of hearing to accused and prosecution (it is commonly called charge argument); the magistrate shall examine the accused if necessary. If the magistrate finds that the charge against the accused is groundless he shall discharge the accused under sec.239. He will also check the prima facie of the case. Case of State v. Sitaram Dayaram-1959.
  3. The framing of charge:-If the magistrate is of the opinion that there is a ground for presuming that the accused has committed an offence and is competent to try such offence which can adequately punish the accused in his opinion. Then the charge shall be framed against the accused in writing and trial will start. Case of Col.S.Kashyap v. State of Raj.1971.
  4. Conviction of plea of guilty:-if the accused pleads guilty the magistrate shall record the plea and may in his discretion convict him.
  5. Evidence for the prosecution: – If the accused refuses to plead guilty and claims to be tried, the magistrate shall fix a date for the examination of the witnesses, u/s 242, and case State v/s Suwa-1962.
  6. Evidence for defence:- u/s 243on completion of prosecution witnesses, defence witnesses produces by the accused, the expenses on compelling the attendance of the witnesses shall be borne by the accused.

B. Cases instituted otherwise than upon police report:- The procedure of trial for summons cases is less brief in nature.

  1. There is no need of framing of formal charge in summons cases.
  2. Accused can be convicted or acquitted.
  3. Summons case cannot be reopened after completed once.
  4. The complainant can withdraw his complaint in a summon case. Its effect would be the acquittal of accused.
  5. In summon cases summons are generally issued to the accused.
  6. Accused is not required to be heard on the question of sentence in summon case.
  7. In summon cases there is no need for arguments generally before substance prosecution.
  8. In summon case if the accused pleads guilty the Magistrate shall record the plea and may convict him on that basis under sec.252.
  9. In summons case if the magistrate does not convict the accused on his plea of guilty he shall proceed to hear the prosecution and take all evidence. He will also hear the accused and take all evidence produced by the accused under sec. 254(1).
  10. u/s 257, on the satisfaction of the magistrate he may permit the complainant to withdraw his complain thereupon the accused shall be acquitted.
  11. In a summon case no provisions authorizing the magistrate to permit the cross-examination of any prosecution witnesses to be deferred or recall of any witness for further examination.
  12. In summon case when summon has been issued to the complainant and he fails to appear on fix date the accused may acquit unless for some reasons he thinks to adjourn the hearing of the case to some other day u/s 257.

By – L. Sanmiha (Saveetha School of Law, Chennai)


  1. Universal Bare Act, 2017
  2. R.V. Kelkar’s Criminal Procedure, EBC 2016

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