Understanding Section 64 CrPC: Service When Persons Summoned Cannot Be Found

The Indian legal system is intricate, involving numerous procedures to ensure justice is served efficiently and effectively. One such procedural element is the service of summons, which is crucial for informing individuals about their required presence in court. However, what happens when the person summoned cannot be found? This is where Section 64 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) steps in, providing clear guidelines for such situations.

section 64 crpc

In this article, we will delve into the specifics of Section 64 CrPC, offering insights into its practical application and implications.

Bare Act. Section 64 Cr.P.C.
Service when persons summoned cannot be found.

Where the person summoned cannot, by the exercise of due diligence, be found, the summons may be served by leaving one of the duplicates for him with some adult male member of his family residing with him, and the person with whom the summons is so left shall, if so required by the serving officer, sign a receipt therefor on the back of the other duplicate.
Explanation.--A servant is not a member of the family within the meaning of this section.

Introduction to Section 64 CrPC

Section 64 CrPC is a provision under the Indian law that outlines the steps to be taken when a person summoned by the court cannot be found. This section is part of the broader framework of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, which governs the functioning of criminal law in India. The purpose of Section 64 is to ensure that the judicial process is not stalled due to the non-availability of the person being summoned.

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The Significance of Summons in Legal Proceedings

Summons play a pivotal role in the judicial system, serving as a formal notice issued by the court to an individual, requiring their appearance for a specific legal matter. The effectiveness of summons service is critical to the fair administration of justice. It ensures that the concerned parties are adequately informed and given an opportunity to present their case.

Challenges in Serving Summons

Serving summons can often be a challenging task, especially when the person summoned is not readily available. Various factors such as frequent relocations, intentional avoidance, and incorrect addresses can impede the process. This is where Section 64 CrPC provides an alternative mechanism to ensure the continuation of legal proceedings.

Procedure Under Section 64 CrPC

Serving Summons to an Adult Male Member of the Family

When the person summoned cannot be found, Section 64 CrPC allows for the summons to be served to an adult male member of the family residing with the person. This provision ensures that the summons reaches someone who can reasonably be expected to inform the person summoned.

Documentation and Endorsement

The serving officer must endorse the summons with details of the person to whom it was delivered and the reasons for serving it to that individual instead of the person summoned. This documentation is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the legal process and provides a trail of accountability.

Affixing the Summons at a Conspicuous Place

In cases where there is no suitable family member to accept the summons, the serving officer is required to affix a copy of the summons at a conspicuous place where the person summoned ordinarily resides. This step is taken to ensure that the summons is visible and the person has a reasonable opportunity to become aware of it.

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Legal Implications of Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with a summons served under Section 64 CrPC can lead to serious legal consequences. The court may proceed with the case ex parte, meaning the proceedings can continue in the absence of the person summoned. Additionally, failure to appear in court despite receiving a summons can result in the issuance of a warrant for arrest.

Impact on Judicial Efficiency

Section 64 CrPC plays a significant role in enhancing judicial efficiency by providing a clear protocol for instances where the person summoned is not available. This ensures that legal proceedings are not unduly delayed and justice is delivered in a timely manner.

Practical Application and Case Studies

Real-Life Scenarios

To better understand the practical application of Section 64 CrPC, it is useful to examine real-life scenarios where this provision has been invoked. For instance, in cases involving habitual offenders who frequently change their residences, the use of Section 64 has proven to be an effective means of ensuring their appearance in court.

Judicial Interpretations

The judiciary has provided various interpretations of Section 64 CrPC through landmark judgments. These interpretations help in clarifying ambiguities and provide guidance on the appropriate application of this provision in different contexts.


Section 64 CrPC is a vital provision in the Indian legal system, ensuring that legal proceedings are not hindered by the non-availability of the person summoned. By allowing the summons to be served to an adult male family member or affixed at a conspicuous place, it provides a practical solution to a common challenge in the judicial process. Understanding and effectively implementing Section 64 CrPC is crucial for legal professionals and the judiciary to maintain the efficiency and integrity of legal proceedings.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The court may proceed with the case in the absence of the person summoned and may issue a warrant for arrest if non-compliance persists.

No, the summons can only be served to an adult male member of the family residing with the person summoned.

Section 64 CrPC is the primary provision for such situations, but other sections of CrPC provide additional guidelines for different circumstances.

Judicial interpretations have clarified the scope and application of Section 64 CrPC, ensuring its effective implementation in various legal contexts.