SUMMONS UNDER SECTIONS 61-69 OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE
MEANING OF SUMMON:
Summon is a legal notice issued by the Court to an accused or a witness to appear before the Court. A summon notifies an accused about a lawsuit filed against him and commands him to appear before the Court to answer the complaint made against him. To ensure a fair trial the presence of the accused is very important. Thus, the Court issues summons to compel the accused to appear before it to answer the suit filed against him. Section 61-69 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) provides the procedure to serve summon.
Section 2(w) of CrPC states that a summons case is a case relating to an offence and not being a warrant case. A Magistrate issues a summon to an accused under Section 204(1) (a) of CrPC. Summons cases are not serious as the punishment given in summons cases does not exceed imprisonment for more than two years. Thus, summon is a legal document issued by the Court to call upon a person to appear before it on the specified date and time.
CONTENTS OF SUMMONS:
Every summons shall mention the following essential details-
1. The summon must mention the name of the Court that has issued it.
2. The summon must mention the name as well as the address of the party to which the summon is issued.
3. The summon must mention the offence against the accused. It must inform the accused about the offence with which he is charged.
4. The summon must contain the seal of the Court.
FORM OF SUMMONS:
Section 61 of CrPC states the essential elements of summons.
As per Section 61 all summons issued by the Court under CrPC –
1. Shall be in writing
2. Shall be in duplicate
3. Shall be signed by the presiding officer of the Court which has issued the said summon
4. Shall bear the seal of the Court.
SUMMONS HOW SERVED (SECTION 62):
Section 62 of the CrPC states the procedure of serving the summons to the defendant.
As per Section 62, every summon shall be served by-
a. A police officer,
b. officer of the Court issuing the summon
c. any other public servant.
If practicable the summons shall be served personally to the person summoned by giving it to him or tendering to him a duplicate of the summon.
However, if the officer giving the summon requires it then the person to whom it is served shall sign a receipt on the back of the other duplicate.
SERVING SUMMONS TO CORPORATE BODIES AND SOCIETIES (SECTION 63):
Section 63 of CrPC states that summons can be served on a corporation by serving its secretary, local manager, and principal officer.
A summon can be served to a corporation or society by sending a letter by registered post addressing to the Chief of the corporation.
SERVING THE SUMMON WHEN THE SUMMONED PERSON CAN NOT BE FOUND (SECTION 64):
Section 64 of CrPC provides that when the person to whom the summon is to be given is not found then the summon should be served to any adult male member of the family of the person to be summoned residing with him. If required or asked y the serving officer the person to whom the summon is delivered shall sign the receipt on the back of the other duplicate.
It must be noted that under this Section a servant is not a member of the family thus a summon cannot be delivered to him.
WHEN SUMMON CAN NOT BE SERVED IN THE WAY PROVIDED BY EARLIER SECTIONS (SECTION 65):
Section 65 of CrPC provides that if a summon cannot be served to the defendant in the way provided by Sections 62, 63 and 64 then the duplicate of the summon to be affixed by the serving officer to any conspicuous part of the house of the summoned person in which he ordinarily resides.
SERVICE ON GOVERNMENT SERVANT(SECTION 66):
Section 66 of the CrPC provides that the Court which has issued the summon shall send a duplicate copy of summon to the head of the Government office in which such person is employed. Further, such head shall serve the summon to the said government servant as provided in Section 62 of CrPC. After serving the summon the head shall return the summon to the Court under his or her signature with endorsement as per Section 62.
SERVING SUMMONS OUTSIDE LOCAL LIMITS (SECTION 67):
When a Court wants a summon issued by it to be served outside its local jurisdiction it shall send a duplicate summon to a Magistrate within whose jurisdiction the person to be whom the summon is to be served resides. The Magistrate shall then issue it to the police to serve the summon.
PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMON WHEN SERVING OFFICER NOT PRESENT (SECTION 68):
Section 68 of CrPC states that in case of summon being served outside the local jurisdiction of the Court issuing it and the officer who has served the summon is not present during the hearing of the case an affidavit purporting to be made before a Magistrate that the said summon has been served, and a duplicate of the summon purporting to be endorsed as per Section 62 or 64 by the person to whom it was delivered or with whom it was left shall be admissible as evidence and the statements made therein shall be deemed to be correct unless the contrary is proved.
The said affidavit mentioned in this Section may be attached to the summon’s duplicate and returned to the Court.
SERVING SUMMONS TO WITNESS BY POST (SECTION 69):
Section 69 states that while issuing summons to a witness the Court simultaneously and in addition to the summon may direct serve a copy of the summon by registered post addressed to the witness where he resides or carries on his business or works.
After receiving an acknowledgement signed by the witness or any endorsement by the postal staff that the witness has refused to accept the summon the Court that has issued the summon may declare that the summon has been served to the witness.
Once a summon is issued by the Court it is handed over to a Police officer to serve it to the person summoned. Summon should be served as per the procedure given under Sections 61-69 of Criminal Procedure as discussed above. Once the summon has been served the summoned person has to appear in the Court on the date mentioned in the summon. If the summoned person cannot appear before the Court because of any reason he has to inform the Court and upon the discretion of the Court the summoned person may be allowed to appear at the next hearing of the suit filed against him.
The summoned person should never avoid appearing before the Court. If he does not appear before the Court then the Court may hold the person under Contempt of Court and or simultaneously issue a warrant against that person.