Sunday 30 October 2022

Supreme Court: Under which circumstances do the Magistrate may issue a Non-bailable Warrant

 When non-bailable warrants should be issued

53. Non-bailable warrant should be issued to bring a person to court when summons or bailable warrants would be unlikely to have the desired result. This could be when:

• it is reasonable to believe that the person will not voluntarily appear in court; or

• the police authorities are unable to find the person to serve him with a summon; or

• it is considered that the person could harm someone if not placed into custody immediately.

54. As far as possible, if the court is of the opinion that a summon will suffice in getting the appearance of the Accused in the court, the summon or the bailable warrants should be preferred. The warrants either bailable or non-bailable should never be issued without proper scrutiny of facts and complete application of mind, due to the extremely serious consequences and ramifications which ensue on issuance of warrants. The court must very carefully examine whether the criminal complaint or FIR has not been filed with an oblique motive.

55. In complaint cases, at the first instance, the court should direct serving of the summons along with the copy of the complaint. If the Accused seem to be avoiding the summons, the court, in the second instance should issue bailable warrant. In the third instance, when the court is fully satisfied that the Accused is avoiding the court's proceeding intentionally, the process of issuance of the non-bailable warrant should be resorted to. Personal liberty is paramount, therefore, we caution courts at the first and second instance to refrain from issuing non-bailable warrants.

56. The power being discretionary must be exercised judiciously with extreme care and caution. The court should properly balance both personal liberty and societal interest before issuing warrants. There cannot be any straitjacket formula for issuance of warrants but as a general rule, unless an Accused is charged with the commission of an offence of a heinous crime and it is feared that he is likely to tamper or destroy the evidence or is likely to evade the process of law, issuance of non-bailable warrants should be avoided.

57. The court should try to maintain proper balance between individual liberty and the interest of the public and the State while issuing non-bailable warrant.


Miscellaneous Application No. 1849 of 2021 in Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No. 5191 of 2021 

 Satender Kumar Antil Vs. Central Bureau of Investigation and Ors.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:

Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh, JJ.

Author: M.M. Sundresh, J.

Decided On: 11.07.2022

Citation: MANU/SC/0851/2022.

Read full Judgment here: Click here
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