Trial of Warrant Case – 2


The Magistrate’s Court forms the bedrock of the lawful System in India and the process of trials of warrant cases conducted by magistrates. This is explained in the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, which classifies warrant cases as those that include offenses punishable with death penalty, imprisonment for life and imprisonment exceeding more than two years. Warrant case procedures can start by filing an FIR in the police headquarters. For this situation, the police direct an investigation and forward the report to the Magistrate. The Magistrate then furthers the proceedings under the procedure established by law and the guilty party is brought before the Magistrate or appears voluntarily. Or the complaint can be filed directly with the magistrate to initiate the proceedings against an offender.


One basic question that needs be known is the why the offenses punishable with over 2 years are called warrant cases. In these cases, the Magistrate is empowered to issue a warrant of arrest of the alleged offender and the police are empowered to arrest the person on such warrant without allowing the person an opportunity to surrender.


There are two type of warrant cases, viz. warrant cases initiated on accommodation of the police report and warrant cases instituted otherwise. More or less, if an offense is cognizable, an individual (informant) can lodge a FIR in the police headquarters, the police directs the examination and toward the end when the police finds adequate evidence against the accused person(s), it presents a report to the Magistrate and on the basis of the report,trial commences. These cases are cases instituted on the police report.

On the other hand, when an offense is non-cognizable or if the police refuse to lodge an FIR or for some other reason, FIR can’t be filed, the next best alternative is to lodge a complaint before the Magistrate. Based on the grievance, the Magistrate starts the procedures.

These cases are instituted on the complaint and consequently, are called cases founded in any case than on police report. the method for trial of both the warrant cases are different and distinct from one another and are clarified concisely hereunder.


For trials of Warrant cases by Magistrates, there are three procedures prescribed;

  • Provisions applicable with respect to warrant cases instituted on Police Report: Sections 238-243 of the Code,
  • Provisions applicable with respect to warrant cases instituted otherwise than on a Police Report: Sections 244- 247 of the Code and
  • Provisions that are commonly applicable to all warrant cases instituted on a police report or otherwise: Sections 248-250 of the Code.

Cases instituted on Police report

As per Section 238 of the Code, when in any warrant case founded on a police report and the accused appears or is brought before the Magistrate, at that point he shall satisfy himself that he has supplied the accused with copies for all important documents like the Police report, FIR, statement of person recorded by the Police during investigation etc,. as required under section 207 of the Act.

As per Section 239 of the Code, if the Magistrate upon examination of the charge-sheet documented and all other relevant documents sent, finds that the charge against the accused is groundless, at that point he may release the accused and record his explanations behind doing as such.

However, if upon examination he finds that there is a ground for assuming that the accused has committed an offense, he may proceed to frame charges in accordance with Section 240 of CrPC.

If the accused pleads guilty to the offense, then at that point the Magistrate shall record the plea and use his discretion to convict him under section 241. If the accused doesn’t plead guilty then the Magistrate may fix a date for investigation of witnesses and issue summons to witnesses according to Section 242.

Section 243 which deals with “Evidence for defence” is equally applicable to cases instituted on police report and otherwise.

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