13 Major Differences between a Summons Case and a Warrant Case



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(2) The trial of a warrant case as a summons case is a serious irregularity which would vitiate the trial if the accused has been prejudiced. But the trial of a summons case as a warrant-case is only an irregularity which is curable under Section 465 of the Code.

(3) Where a warrant case has been tried as a summons case and it has resulted into acquittal of the accused, such acquittal shall operate only as a discharge under Section 245 of the Code. On the other hand where a summons case has been tried as a warrant case and the accused is discharged under Section 245, the discharge will amount to an acquittal under Section 255 of the Code.

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(4) When the accused appears or is brought before a Magistrate in a warrant case, the Magistrate shall proceed to hear the prosecution and take all such evidence as may be produced in support of the prosecution. But in a summon case, the particulars of offence are stated to the accused and he shall be asked whether he pleads guilty or wishes to defend himself.

(5) Framing of a formal charge is necessary in a warrant case but it is not necessary in a summons case.

(6) When the charges reveal both, a warrant case and a summons case, the former is to be preferred.

(7) A charge under warrant case cannot be split up into its constituents for trial under a summons case.

(8) In a warrant case, the accused gets more than one opportunity to cross- examine the prosecution witnesses whereas in a summons case he gets only one opportunity to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses.

(9) A warrant case may result into discharge of the accused under Section 249 in the absence of the complainant but in a summons case, the result would be acquittal of the accused under Section 256 of the Code.

(10) In a warrant case a complaint cannot be withdrawn by the complainant but in a summons case the complainant may withdraw the complaint with the permission of the Magistrate.

(11) The Magistrate is empowered to convert a summons case into a warrant case under Chapter XX of the Code but a warrant case cannot be converted into a summons case.

(12) In a warrant case, after convicting the accused, the Magistrate may take evidence regarding the alleged previous conviction, which is not admitted by the accused, and shall record his finding thereon. But no such power is conferred on the Magistrate while trying the accused in a summons case.

(13) In a summons case, after the issue of summons, the accused may plead guilty by post without appearing before the Magistrate. But no such provision exists in trial of a warrant case.

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