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Trial of warrent cases

 Trial of warrent cases


Criminal cases can be divided into two types: Summons Case and Warrant Case. A summons case relates to an offence not being in a warrant case. Warrant cases are those that include offences punishable with death penalty, imprisonment for life or imprisonment exceeding more than two years. The criteria that differ a summons case from a warrant case is determined by the duration of punishment in any offence. The case of Public Prosecutor V. Hindustan Motors, Andhra Pradesh,1970, is a summons case as the convicted is sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 50. The issue of summons or warrant, in any case, does not change the nature of the case, for instance, a warrant issued in a summons case does not make it a warrant case as observed in the case of Padam Nath V. Ahmad Dobi, 1969. A trial in a warrant case begins by either filing a First Information Report or FIR in a Police Station or filing it directly before the Magistrate.

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:

Supply of copy of police report to accused in compliance with Section 207. (Section 238)

Discharge of accused on baseless charges. (Section 239)

Framing of charges. (Section 240)

Conviction on a guilty plea. (Section 241)

Evidence for the prosecution. (Section 242)

Evidence for defence. (Section 243)

Supply of copies to the accused

A copy of the police report and other documents relevant to the case should be supplied to any person or persons who appears or is brought before a magistrate at the commencement of the trial. And the Magistrate shall satisfy himself in complying with the provisions of Section 207. This is to ensure that the accused are aware of the charges against him and can prepare for defence under fair trial by law.

Discharge of accused if allegations against him are baseless

Once the Magistrate receives the police report and other relevant documents and provides them to the accused, the Magistrate shall consider each report. A hearing shall be convened and a reasonable opportunity shall be provided for both the accused prosecution to present their case. The Magistrate examines the accused if necessary. If the charge against the accused is discovered to be baseless and lacking in substance, the accused shall be discharged under Section 239. The prima facie of the case is also considered.

In the case of State vs Sitaram Dayaram Kachhi, 1957, the accused, Sitaram was acquitted under Section 239.

punishment if he refuses to answer any question when examined by the prosecution, or gives false answers.


The Magistrate holds the authority to judge the evidence provided by the defence and its relevance. If any evidence or testimony is in his opinion irrelevant or lacks substance, it may be thrown out and not filed with the record and shall no longer be considered in the case. The relevance of the evidence and testimony can be challenged by the opposing party but only the Magistrate has the authority to decide whether it shall be filed with the record or thrown out of the case.

Cases instituted otherwise than on a police report

A warrant case instituted otherwise than on a police report begins when a complaint is filed directly with a magistrate. The accused is brought or appears before a magistrate. The Magistrate begins the proceedings of the case by initiating the hearing process and files all the evidence received with the record. Sections 244, 245, 246 and 247 of CrPC sets the procedure of a warrant case instituted otherwise than on a police report and brought directly to a magistrate by filing a complaint. 

directed to pay compensation amount will be exempted from any criminal or civil liability in respect of the complaint. 

Section 250(6) states that a complainant or informant ordered by a Magistrate of second class to pay compensation exceeding one hundred rupees under Sub-section (2) can be appealed as seen in the case of A.M. Pereira vs D.P. Demello, 1924.

The compensation amount shall not be paid before the period of appeal lapses or after the decision of the appeal is given by the Court. And in cases where there is no relation to appeal, the amount will be paid after one month from the date the order was passed.


The Court decides if there is ground against the accusations of the complainant and the proceedings are initiated under the Magistrate’s discretion. Furthermore, we discussed that the evidence and witnesses presented by both the prosecution and defence are essential in determining the facts of the case and declare judgement. The judgement is taken by the Magistrate after both sides have presented their arguments. And if the accused is acquitted of the charges, the case is dismissed but the prosecution can file an appeal to challenge the decision of the court. But if the accused is convicted, both sides are allowed to present their arguments as to the extent of punishment which shall be inflicted on the convict. But the final decision as to the punishment lies with the Magistrate.