Trial of Warrant Case – 1

Providing adequate representation even for defendants who appear guilty is the best way to protect those who are not.

Deborah L Rhode


 In any warrant case instituted on a police report, when the accused appears or is brought before a magistrate for the trial, the magistrate shall satisfy himself that he has complied with the provisions of section 207 (supply the copy of police report and other related documents to the accused). Warrant cases are those that include offences punishable with death penalty, imprisonment for life or imprisonment exceeding more than two years. In this thesis we have thrown light on the how is a warrant case tried in a court of law and what are the various procedures  in a warrant case. We have also discussed about the scope and kinds of warrant case. Lastly the research is summed up with that the evidence and witnesses presented by both the prosecution and defence are basic in deciding the realities of the case and proclaim judgment and the final decision as to the punishment lies with the Magistrate.


Criminal cases can be divided into two kinds: Summons Case and Warrant Case. A summons case relates with an offense not being in a warrant case. Warrant cases are those that include offenses punishable with death penalty, imprisonment for life or imprisonment exceeding more than  two years. The measures that vary a summons case from a warrant case is determined by the duration of punishment in any offense. The case of Public Prosecutor V. Hindustan Motors, Andhra Pradesh,1970, is a summons case as the indicted is sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 50. The issue of summons or warrant, in any case, doesn’t change the idea of the case, for example, a warrant issued in a summons case doesn’t make it a warrant case as seen in case of Padam Nath V. Ahmad Dobi, 1969. A trial in a warrant case starts by either filing an First Information Report or FIR in a Police Station or documenting it legitimately before the Magistrate.

Important points about summons case

  1. A summons case can be converted into a warrant case.
  2. The person accused need not be present personally.
  3. The person accused should be informed about the charges orally. No need for framing the charges in writing.
  4. The accused gets only one opportunity to cross examine the witnesses.
  5. All cases which are not punishable by death, imprisonment for life, or for more than two years are summons cases.

Section 238 to 250 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC) deals with the trial of warrant cases by magistrates. Trial of warrant cases are of two types:

  • By a police report- Section 173 of CrPC mentions a police report as a report forwarded by a police officer to the Magistrate. In this case, the accused appears or is brought before a magistrate at the commencement of trial. Section 173(2)(i) mentions that as soon as the police investigation is completed, the police station must forward it to the Magistrate empowered to take cognizance of the offence.
  • By other than a police report- The complaint is filed directly with the Magistrate in this case.

The procedure of trial in warrant cases by magistrates in the following way:

  1. Compliance with Section 207;
  2. When accused shall be discharged;
  3. Framing of charge;
  4. Conviction on a plea of guilty;
  5. Evidence for Prosecution;
  6. Evidence for Defence Side;
  7. Evidence for Prosecution;
  8. When accused shall be discharged;
  9. Again Evidence for Defence;
  10. Acquittal or conviction;
  11. Absence of Complaint;
  12. Compensation for accusation without a reasonable cause.

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