Understanding Section 87 CrPC: Issue of Warrant in Lieu of, or in Addition to, Summons

The legal framework governing criminal procedures in India is encapsulated in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Among its myriad sections, Section 87 CrPC holds particular importance. This section provides the courts with the power to issue a warrant in lieu of, or in addition to, a summons.

section 87 crpc

In this article, we delve into the intricacies of Section 87 CrPC, examining its implications, procedural requirements, and practical applications in the Indian legal system.

Bare Act. Section 87 Cr.P.C.
Issue of warrant in lieu of, or in addition to, summons.


A Court may, in any case in which it is empowered by this Code to issue a summons for the appearance of any person, issue, after recording its reasons in writing, a warrant for his arrest--
(a) if, either before the issue of such summons, or after the issue of the same but before the time fixed for his appearance, the Court sees reason to believe that he has absconded or will not obey the summons; or
(b) if at such time he fails to appear and the summons is proved to have been duly served in time to admit of his appearing in accordance therewith and no reasonable excuse is offered for such failure.

Section 87 CrPC: A Detailed Overview

Section 87 CrPC grants the judiciary the authority to issue a warrant for the arrest of an individual if it is believed that the person is unlikely to comply with a summons. This section is pivotal in ensuring that justice is not delayed due to the non-appearance of the accused or witnesses. The section reads:

“87. Issue of warrant in lieu of, or in addition to, summons. A Court may, in any case in which it is empowered by this Code to issue a summons for the appearance of any person, issue, after recording its reasons in writing, a warrant for his arrest- (a) if, either before the issue of such summons, or after the issue of the same but before the time fixed for his appearance, the Court sees reason to believe that he has absconded or will not obey the summons; or (b) if at such time he fails to appear and the summons is proved to have been duly served in time to admit of his appearing in accordance therewith and no reasonable excuse is offered for such failure.”

See also  Section 199 CrPC: Prosecution for Defamation

Historical Context and Evolution

To comprehend the full scope of Section 87 CrPC, it is essential to understand its historical context. The provision finds its roots in the British colonial period when the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code were enacted to establish a uniform legal system in India. Over time, Section 87 has evolved, adapting to the changing legal landscape and the demands of a modern judicial system. This evolution reflects a balance between the rights of the accused and the necessity for effective law enforcement.

Legal Framework and Procedural Requirements

The implementation of Section 87 CrPC involves several procedural steps that must be meticulously followed to ensure legal compliance and uphold the principles of natural justice.

Issuance of Summons: Initially, the court issues a summons to the accused or a witness, directing them to appear before the court on a specified date.

Assessment of Non-compliance: If the court has reasons to believe that the individual is likely to abscond or willfully ignore the summons, it records its reasons in writing.

Issuance of Warrant: Based on this assessment, the court can issue a warrant for the arrest of the individual. This warrant can be issued either before the time fixed for the appearance or after the failure of the individual to appear in court as required.

Documentation and Justification: It is crucial for the court to document and justify the reasons for issuing the warrant, ensuring transparency and accountability in the judicial process.

Practical Implications and Case Studies

Ensuring Judicial Efficiency: The primary objective of Section 87 CrPC is to ensure the efficiency of the judicial process. By providing a mechanism to compel the appearance of the accused or witnesses, it mitigates delays and prevents the obstruction of justice.

See also  Section 122 CrPC: Imprisonment in Default of Security

Case Study – High-profile Trials: In high-profile cases, such as those involving economic offenses or organized crime, Section 87 CrPC is frequently invoked. For instance, in the case of Vijay Mallya, the Indian businessman accused of financial crimes, the court issued a non-bailable warrant under Section 87 CrPC due to his failure to comply with summonses.

Balancing Rights and Responsibilities: While Section 87 CrPC empowers the court to enforce compliance, it also requires a careful balance to ensure that the rights of the accused are not unduly infringed. The requirement for the court to record its reasons in writing serves as a safeguard against arbitrary use of this power.

Judicial Interpretations and Precedents

The judiciary has played a pivotal role in interpreting and shaping the application of Section 87 CrPC. Various landmark judgments have provided clarity on the circumstances under which a warrant can be issued in lieu of a summons.

Judicial Prudence: Courts have emphasized the need for judicial prudence and restraint in the issuance of warrants. In the case of “State of Maharashtra vs. Sardar Mohammed,” the Supreme Court underscored that the power to issue a warrant should be exercised judiciously and not as a matter of course.

Reasoned Orders: The requirement for reasoned orders has been reiterated in multiple judgments, ensuring that the discretion granted under Section 87 CrPC is not misused. This practice promotes transparency and accountability in the judicial process.

Impact on Law Enforcement

Section 87 CrPC has significant implications for law enforcement agencies, providing them with a legal tool to ensure the presence of individuals required for judicial proceedings.

Coordination with Police: Effective implementation of Section 87 CrPC necessitates close coordination between the judiciary and law enforcement agencies. Police are tasked with executing the warrants issued by the court, necessitating efficient communication and cooperation.

Challenges and Solutions: Law enforcement agencies often face challenges in executing warrants, particularly in cases involving absconding individuals. Strategies such as increased surveillance, enhanced inter-agency cooperation, and technological advancements are crucial in addressing these challenges.

Contemporary Relevance and Future Directions

In the contemporary legal landscape, Section 87 CrPC remains highly relevant, particularly in an era where the movement of individuals is increasingly fluid, and absconding to avoid legal proceedings is a persistent issue.

See also  Understanding Section 249 CrPC: Absence of Complainant

Adapting to Technological Advancements: The integration of technology in legal procedures, such as electronic summonses and warrants, can enhance the efficacy of Section 87 CrPC. Digital platforms can streamline the process, ensuring quicker issuance and execution of warrants.

International Cooperation: In cases involving cross-border crimes, international cooperation becomes paramount. Section 87 CrPC can serve as a foundation for seeking assistance from foreign jurisdictions in apprehending individuals who have fled the country.

Conclusion

Section 87 CrPC stands as a testament to the balance that the Indian legal system strives to achieve between the rights of individuals and the imperative for effective law enforcement. By providing a mechanism for issuing warrants in lieu of, or in addition to, summonses, this section ensures that the judicial process is not impeded by the non-appearance of the accused or witnesses. As legal systems worldwide continue to evolve, Section 87 CrPC serves as a robust framework, adapting to contemporary challenges while upholding the principles of justice and fairness.

Frequently Asked Questions

A warrant can be issued if the court believes the person has absconded, will not obey the summons, or fails to appear without a reasonable excuse.

The court must record its reasons in writing and ensure that the issuance of the warrant is justified based on the individual’s likelihood of absconding or non-compliance with the summons.

Section 87 CrPC provides law enforcement agencies with the authority to execute court-issued warrants, ensuring the presence of individuals required for judicial proceedings.

The requirement for the court to record its reasons in writing and the emphasis on judicial prudence and restraint act as safeguards against arbitrary use of the power to issue warrants.

By integrating technology and promoting international cooperation, Section 87 CrPC adapts to contemporary challenges such as cross-border crimes and the increased mobility of individuals.