The issue of a warrant is a more drastic step than the issue of a summons. Ordinarily, a warrant is issued only in serious cases and after a duly served summons is disobeyed or if the accused has willfully avoided the service of the summons.
The following are the six requirements of a valid warrant:
(i) It must be in writing.
(ii) It must be signed by the Presiding Officer of the Court issuing the warrant.
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(iii) It must bear the seal of the Court.
(iv) It must contain the description of the person to be arrested with sufficient certainty so as to identify him clearly.
(v) It must clearly specify the offence.
(vi) It must also name the person who is to execute such warrant.
The following is a specimen form of a warrant:
To [name and designation of the person (or persons) who is (or are) to execute the warrant].
WHEREAS (name of accused) of (his address) stands charged with the offence (state the offence), you are hereby directed to arrest the said (name of accused) and to produce him before me. Herein fail not.
Dated this 10th day of March, 20
The Court issuing a warrant for the arrest of a person may, in its discretion, make an endorsement on the warrant that if the person concerned executes a bond with sufficient sureties for his attendance before the Court at specified times, the officer executing the warrant can take such a security and release the person from custody. Such an endorsement must state the following three particulars, namely—
(a) The number and sureties;
(b) The amount in which the sureties are bound; and
(c) The time at which the person concerned is to attend before the Court.
A warrant of arrest is normally to be directed to one or more Police Officers, but if no Police Officer is immediately available, and if immediate execution of the warrant is necessary, a warrant of arrest can be directed to any other person or persons, and in such cases, it may be executed by all or any one or more of them.
Similarly, for the purpose of the arrest of any escaped convict or a proclaimed offender or any person who is accused of a non-bailable offence and is evading arrest, the Chief Judicial Magistrate or a Magistrate of the First Class can direct a warrant to any person within his local jurisdiction for the arrest of such a person.
In cases where a warrant is directed to a Police Officer, it may also be executed by any other Police Officer whose name is endorsed on the warrant by the Officer to whom it is directed.
Before arresting the person, the Police Officer or other person executing the warrant of arrest must notify the substance thereof to the person to be arrested, and if so required, also show him the warrant.
A warrant of arrest can be executed in any place in India, and the person executing it must, without unnecessary delay, bring the person arrested before the Court which has ordered the production of such a person. In any case, such delay should not exceed twenty-four hours, exclusive of the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the Magistrate’s Court.
If a warrant is to be executed outside the local jurisdiction of the Court which has issued it, the Court may forward it to any Executive Magistrate or District Superintendent of Police or Commissioner of Police within the local limits of whose jurisdiction it is to be executed, and then such a person can execute the warrant in the same manner.
When a warrant of arrest is executed outside the District in which it has been issued, the arrested person must be taken before a Magistrate or District Superintendent of Police or a Commissioner of Police, unless the Court which has issued the warrant is within thirty kilometers of the place of arrest, or is nearer than the Magistrate or District Superintendent or Commissioner of Police, as the case may be.
The Executive Magistrate, or District Superintendent of Police or Commissioner of Police, as the case may be, must direct the removal of the arrested person to the Court issuing the warrant, if such person appears to be the same person as was contemplated by such Court.
However, if the offence is bailable, and such a person is ready and willing to give satisfactory bail, the Magistrate, Superintendent or Commissioner, as the case may be, must take such bail and forward the bond to the Court issuing the warrant. Even if the offence is non-bailable, it is open to a Chief Judicial Magistrate or the Session Judge to release such a person on bail, after considering the information and documents referred to in S. 78(2).