A search warrant in its most general sense refers to a written authority or permission given to an officer of the police force by a Magistrate of a competent authority for conducting a search through a place either ordinarily or a search for specified object or document or for an individual who’s been allegedly illegally detained.
The provisions dealing with a search warrant are Sections 93-98. It is necessary that the search warrant given by a Magistrate be done with very careful speculation, circumspection and thought since the procedure of a search warrant is forceful and coercive in nature which involves the invasion of someone’s privacy and the sanctity of their home.
According to Section 93, there are three situations or cases where the court has the power to issue a search warrant:
- Where the possibility that the objective of a particular trial or proceedings would be fulfilled by a general search or an inspection of a place.
- Where the court has a genuine reason to believe that an individual who has been addressed with a summon or an order will not produce the document or the thing which has been asked
- Where such a document or object or thing is not known to the court to be in the possession of any particular person.
Under Section 93, there are two different types of searches:
- General Search- A general search warrant is usually issued for a general search or a general inspection. These are usually issued by the court when it is of the opinion that the purpose of any inquiry would be served by that general search or inspection. The court may, if it wishes, mention in the warrant, the place or the part of the place to be searched and the person who is in charge of executing the warrant may then inspect and search the place as has been specified.
A search warrant cannot be issued in situations where the required documents or objects are in possession of the accused. A general search or inspection in such a situation is permitted legally under Section 93(1)(c).
- Particular Search- A particular search is one where a search warrant is issued with respect to a particular search by a court. In this case, the Court considers that the purpose of either the trial or any other proceeding would be helped by the inspection.
In cases where a search warrant for a search or inspection is issued, it is necessary that the Magistrate or the Court who are issuing the warrant must be convinced that the necessity for issuing the warrant exists to produce the documents/thing/object required and without it the thing in question would not be produced.
In the case of Paresh Chandra Sen Gupta v. Jogendra Nath Roy AIR 1927 Cal 93, it was mentioned by the Court that a general search as cited under Section 93 refers to a search not for finding any particular documents which would prove to be necessary for any proceedings but actually means an itinerant inspection for coming across things or objects which would leave to the persons being convicted or proving their criminal liability.
It is also important to note that where specific things like objects and documents are concerned, a search warrant can be issued for the purpose of an investigation, an enquiry, a trial or any other proceedings under the Criminal Procedure Code whereas a warrant for a general search can only be issued for a trial, inquiry or other proceedings under the code.
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