Summons, Warrants and Proclamation are the measures by which court seeks to ensure appearance of parties/accused/witnesses, before itself, ranging from commutative to compulsive and usually in that chronological order.
A Summon is an order to appear, issued by the court through a police officer. If summons are not complied with, or in extremely serious matters in the first instance only, the court may issue a warrant. The court may, therefore, very well issue summons even in a warrants case, and warrants in summons case, if the case so demands. Section 204 and Section 87 of the CrPC may be referred to in this regard.
A warrant is an order to a police officer usually – to procure a person before the Court. A warrant may be bailable or non bailable; In the former, the police officer executing the warrant is empowered to take security for the person’s appearance before the court without taking him in custody. On the other hand – when a warrant is non bailable, the police officer is bound to arrest the person and produce him before the court (within 24 hours), the court may, then remand him to custody or grant bail depending on the nature of the offence and circumstances of the case.
Cancellation of a Warrant
A warrant may always be cancelled by the court issuing the warrants, either on an application of the accused or even suo motu.
If the person whose appearance is sought, absconds or avoids arrest, proclamation can be issued as per the provisions of S.82 of the CrPC.
Via proclamation a person is given the final chance to appear before the court, failing which he is declared a ‘Proclaimed offender or PO’ (in more serious offences) or ‘Absconder (in less serious offences), as the case may be. This proclamation is announced publicly by the executing police officer, pasted at a conspicuous place of his residence or last known address and also at the court house, giving him 30 days or more to appear in the court as a final chance, and if he fails to, he is declared a ‘proclaimed offender’ or an ‘absconder’.
Alongwith proclamation proceedings, the court, on satisfaction of conditions under Section 83 can also proceed for attachment of properties of the person sought to be declared an absconder, with a view to compel that person to appear in the court.
Being declared a PO/Absconder has grave ramifications : A person, against whom proceedings u/s 82 proceedings are complete, can be arrested without warrant by any police officer in the country. His property can be attached and sold. Usually where there is chance of person absconding from the country, a lookout circular (LOC)/Red Corner Notice (through the Interpol) is also issued to secure his apprehension.
Special Provisions in cases of inter-country process
In cases where the accused/witness/documents are beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the country, provisions of Section 105 to 105L may be referred to. These special provisions provide for the process of procuring appearance/production of documents from other countries. These provisions have to be read alongwith Mutual Legal Assistance treaties/conventions/arrangements/notifications of the Government of India with foreign nations.