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Summon and warrant, are the two terms which are often used interchangeably by many people. But in reality, they differ by their very essence. This article will differentiate between the two.

What is summon?


Word Summon, in its etymological meaning, is “to call” someone. and in a similar manner, it can be used to call in person anyone from the issuing authority by making an application to seek a summons or as the case may be. generally, issuing authority is the court of law, for some specific purpose. The procedure for the issuing of summoning is drawn from the Code of criminal procedure. Chapter VI of the code mentioned the chapter, which is titled “Process to compel appearance“.

Section 61 of the code mentioned that summons should always have the duplicate and should also bear the seal of the court and be signed by the presiding officer of the court. It should be served in-person by the police officer to the person summoned, and a police officer has the duty to take the sign of the person on the duplicate and send the same to the court of Law.

In the absence of the person, summon could be served to the male family member of the house, and in absence of the family member, summon is attached to the conspicuous part of the house. Additionally, in the case when the summon is served to the government servant, the signing of the superior authority on the duplicate would work.

What is warrant?


A warrant is discussed under Section 70-80 of the code. it should be signed by the presiding officer and a duplicate of the same is not made because it is made available to the person only for seeing and not to keep it further.

Some essentials of the warrant are that it should be directed to the authority who would be executing the same. Additionally, if the offence is bailable they should mandatorily have the number of securities, amount and time on which person has to attend the court.

A warrant can be directed to the private person also, in the case of non-bailable offence, Cheif Judicial Magistrate or Magistrate of first-class may direct the person to execute the warrant, if any convict, proclaimed offender, or person evading arrest has to be arrested.

Difference between two?

the difference between the two could be observed as:

  • It is observed that, warrant cases are generally, more serious in nature, and punishable by death or imprisonment or a term exceeding two year, on the other hand summon cases are of less serious nature, and punishable by less than two years.
  • Summon cases can be withdrawn by the complainant by virtue of Section 256, whereas warrent cases could only withdrawn by the public prosecutor with the permission of the Court.
  • Summon case can be tried as warrant case, but warrant case cannot be tried as summon case.
  • Framming of charges in the case of summon case is not necesarry, but framing of charge is nceesasrry in warrant case.

This article is written by Adish Jain, a 3rd-year law student at Symbiosis Law School, Noida.



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