Summon & Warrant Cases

By | September 25, 2016


The general processes to compel appearance are:

(1) Summons (Section 61)

(2) Warrants (Section 70)


A summon is issued either for appearance or for producing a document or thing which may be issued to an accused person or witness. Every summons issued by the Court shall be in writing, in duplicate, signed by the Presiding Officer of such Court or by such officer as is authorised by the High Court and shall bear the seal of the Court (Section 61). The summons should be clear and specific in its terms as to the title of the Court, the place at which, the day and time of the day when, the attendance of the person summoned is required.

Service of summons

The summons shall be served by a police officer or by an officer of the Court or other public servant (Section 62).

In case the service cannot be effected by the exercise of due diligence, the serving officer can perform substituted service by affixing one of the duplicates of the summons to some conspicuous part of the house or homestead in which person summoned ordinarily resides, and thereupon the Court, after making such enquiries as it thinks fit may either declare that the summons has been duly served or order fresh service, as it considers proper (Section 65).

The service of summons on corporate bodies, and societies

The service of summons on a corporation may be effected by serving it on the secretary, local manager or other principal officer of the corporation, or by letter sent by registered post, addressed to the Chief Officer of the corporation in India, in which case the service shall be deemed to have been effected when the letter would arrive in ordinary course of post.

The word “corporation” in this Section means an incorporated company or other body corporate and includes a society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. Thus, the societies may not be formally incorporated, yet they fall within the purview of this section. (Section 63)

When personal service of summons cannot be affected under Section 62, the extended service under Section 64 can be secured by leaving one of the duplicates with some adult male member of his family residing with him who may also be asked to sign the receipt for that. A servant is not a member of the family within the meaning of Section 64.

In the case of a Government Servant, the duplicate copy of the summons shall be sent to the head of the office by the Court and such head shall thereupon cause the summons to be served in the manner provided by Section 62 and shall return it to the Court under his signature with the endorsement required by Section 62. Such signature shall be evidence of due service. (Section 66)


Every warrant of arrest issued by a Court under this Code shall be in writing, signed by the presiding officer of such Court, and shall bear the seal of the Court. Such warrant shall remain in force until it is cancelled by the Court which issued it, or until it is executed. (Section 70) The form of warrant of arrest is Form No. 2 of the Second Schedule. The requisites of a warrant are as follows:

  1. It must be in writing.
  2. It must bear the name and designation of the person who is to execute it;
  3. It must give full name and description of the person to be arrested;
  4. It must state the offence charged;
  5. It must be signed by the presiding officer; and
  6. It must be sealed.

Such warrant is only for protection of a person before the concerned Court and not before the police officer.

Under Section 76 the police officer or other person executing the warrant of arrest shall (subject to the provisions of Section 71 as to security) bring the person arrested before the Court without unnecessary delay provided that such delay shall not in any case exceed 24 hours exclusive of the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the Magistrate’s Court.


Where a warrant remains unexecuted, the Code provides for two remedies:

(1) issuing a proclamation (Section 82); and

(2) attachment and sale of property (Section 83).

If a Court has reason to believe that any person against whom a warrant has been issued by it has absconded or is concealing himself so that such warrant cannot be executed, the Court may publish a written proclamation requiring him to appear at a specified place and at a specified time not less than 30 days from the date of publishing such proclamation. (Section 82)

While issuing proclamation, the Magistrate must record to his satisfaction that the accused has absconded or is concealing himself. The object of attaching property is not to punish him but to compel his appearance.


Sometimes it is necessary that a person should produce a document or other thing which may be in his possession or power for the purposes of any investigation or inquiry under this Code. This can be compelled to be produced by issuing summons (Sections 91 and 92) or a warrant (Sections 93 to 98).


According to Section 93, a search warrant can be issued only in the following cases:

(1) where the Court has reason to believe that a person summoned to produce any document or other thing will not produce it;

(2) where such document or thing is not known to the Court to be in the possession of any person; or

(3) where a general inspection or search is necesary. However, a search warrant may be general or restricted in its scope as to any place or part thereof.

But such warrant shall not be issued for searching a document, parcel or other thing in the custody of the postal or telegraph authority, by a magistrate other than a District Magistrate or Chief Judicial Magistrate, nor would such warrant be issued so as to affect Sections 123 and 124 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 or the Bankers’ Book Evidence Act, 1891.

In terms of Section 97 any District Magistrate, Sub-Divisional Magistrate or Magistrate of the first class who has reasons to believe that any person is confined under such circumstances that the confinement amounts to an offence, he may issue a search warrant for the search of the person so confined. The person if found shall be immediately produced before the Magistrate for making such orders as in the circumstances of the case he thinks proper.


Author: Mayank Shekhar

Mayank is a student at Faculty of Law, Delhi University. Under his leadership, Legal Bites has been researching and developing resources through blogging, educational resources, competitions, and seminars.

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