Summon Cases
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Summon Cases

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A Summon is a legal document that orders the person whom it is served to appear in court & defend the complaint lodged against him. The form of summon to an accused person is given below:

    Summon Cases

    • A case involving an offence that is not a warrant case is referred to as a Summon Case.
    • As per Section 2(w) of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 a summons-case means a case relating to an offence, and not being a warrant-case.
    • Summons cases are those with a maximum punishment of 2 years in prison.
    • Sections 251 to 259 of CrPC has laid down the provisions regarding the trial of summon-cases by Magistrate.
    • It instructs to produce the relevant documents and others before the court.

    Procedure in Summon Cases (Sections 251 to 259)

    • Substance of Accusation to be Stated (Section 251)
      • Section 251 of CrPC provides that when the accused appears or is brought before the Magistrate in a summons case, the particulars of the offence with which he is charged is stated to him.
      • The Court at this stage is not bound or is not required to frame a formal charge rather than accused is asked as to whether he pleads guilty or has any defence to make.
    • Conviction on plea of guilty (Section 252)
      • If in a summons case the accused pleads guilty, the admission of the accused should be recorded in his own words.
      • In case there is more than one accused person pleading guilty, the plea of each of the accused person should be separately recorded in his own words after the acquisitions was read over to each of them.
      • It is the discretionary power of the Magistrate to accept or not to accept the plea of guilt. But if he decides to accept the plea of guilt, he can call evidence to decide the question of proper sentence.
    • Conviction on plea of guilty in absence of accused in petty cases (Section 253)
      • This Section deals with the absence of the accused at the time of conviction on a guilty plea.
      • In general, a summons has been issued under Section 206 of CrPC, and if the accused chooses to plead guilty to the accusations without appearing before the judge, he can do so by posting or sending a letter stating his plea and the amount of fine specified in the Summons.
      • In addition, the accused authorized pleader has the authority to plead guilty on his or her behalf.

    When the Accused Is Not Convicted on Plea (Section 254)

      • If the accused is not convicted on plea under Section 252 and Section 253, then for the prosecution and the defence part, Section 254 is provided.
      • The magistrate, after hearing the accused, calls on the prosecution to open the case by presenting all the facts and circumstances related to the case and the evidence.
      • The Magistrate on the application of prosecution issue summons to the witnesses to appear before the Court or to present any documents relating to the facts of the case. The Magistrate takes all the evidence and may be produced in support of the prosecution.
    • Acquittal or Conviction (Section 255)
      • If the Magistrate, after taking the entire evidence produced in the case, finds the accused not guilty, he can order acquittal and if the Magistrate finds the accused guilty, he is required to pass sentence according to the law.
      • However, considering the nature or circumstances of the offence and the character of the offender, the Magistrate can order for admonition or probation of good conduct under Section 360 or Section 325 of the Code.
    • Death or Non-Appearance of the Complainant (Section 256)
      • If the complainant has not appeared before the Court on the date fixed for appearance, the Court can acquit the accused unless the Court has reason to adjourn the case to another day.
      • Such provisions shall, so far as may be, apply also to cases where the non-appearance of the complainant is due to his death.
      • In S.Rama Krishna v. Rami Reddy (2008), it was held by the Supreme Court that in case the representative of the dead complainant not appeared for 15 days then the defendant can be acquitted.
    • Withdrawal of Complaint (Section 257)
      • A complainant may, at any time before the final order is passed, withdraw the complaint:
        • Against the single accused, or
        • Any one or more accused persons.
      • The complainant can withdraw the complaint against the accused person or persons only upon satisfying the Court that there are sufficient grounds for permitting him to withdraw the complaint.
      • The Magistrate, if satisfied with the grounds stated by the complainant for the withdrawal of the complaint, acquit the accused thereon.
    • Power to stop proceeding in certain cases (Section 258)
      • The Magistrate under this Section can stop the proceedings of any summons case instituted on a police report under Section 190(1)(b) of the CrPC.
      • The Proceedings can be stopped by: -
        • The Judicial Magistrate First Class, or
        • Any other Magistrate with the previous sanction of the Chief Judicial Magistrate.
      • The proceedings in a summons case can be stopped under this Section only after recording the reasons for doing so.
    • Power of Court to convert Summons (Section 259)
      • If an offence is punishable with imprisonment above six months and the Magistrate is of the opinion that the procedure of warrant case trial should be adopted instead of summons cases trial, he may do so for achieving the ends of justice.
      • He is also empowered to recall any witness already examined for the purpose of this Section.