Summon is a legal notice, issued both in case of civil and criminal proceeding, in which a court orders an individual either to appear or to produce a document before the court, at a stipulated time and place. On the other extreme, a warrant is described as a legal document issued by a judge or magistrate, which empowers a police officer to make an arrest, search or seize premises or undertake any action, concerning the administration of justice.
In short, the two legal documents serve the same purpose but are quite different from one another in the sense that the practical effect of the two is not same. Read out this article, in which we’ve explained the difference between summon and warrant.
Content: Summon Vs Warrant
|Basis for Comparison||Summon||Warrant|
|Meaning||Summon implies a legal order, issued by a judicial officer to the defendant or witness, with respect to a legal proceeding.||Warrant is an authorization issued by the court that permits the police officer to perform an act which is not covered in their scope.|
|Contains||Instruction to appear or produce a document or thing before the court.||Authorization to police officer to apprehend the accused and produce him/her before the court.|
|Addressed to||Defendant or witness||Police officer|
|Objective||To notify the person about the legal obligation to appear in the court.||To bring accused to the court, who've ignored the summons and not appeared.|
Definition of Summon
In law, the summon is a notice issued by the court to the persons involved in the lawsuit, containing an order for appearing or for producing a document/ thing before the judge. It can be explained as a legal document delivered to the party, i.e. defendant or witness, with respect to a lawsuit.
When a case is initiated by a plaintiff (the aggrieved party), against the defendant (accused), the summons is served. The court orders to issue summons to the defendant to notify that he/she is being sued, ensuring a fair trial. It is also issued to other persons who are directly or indirectly involved in the case.
A summon is in writing, created in duplicate, duly signed by the presiding officer of the concerned court or by the officer authorised by the high court in this regard.
The police officer or officer of the court or any other person who is a public servant, delivers the summon, to the defendant. However, the summon issued to witness is served to him/her by a registered post, wherein the acknowledgement letter should be signed by the witness, on receiving the summon.
Definition of Warrant
By the term warrant, we mean a written authorization given by a judge or magistrate, that allows a police officer to perform a specific act, that would otherwise be called illegal, as the act is against the fundamental rights of the citizens. The warrant is used to apprehend someone, search the premises, seize the property or carry out any such activity, that is required to regulate justice.
A warrant is issued in a prescribed format in writing, duly signed by the presiding officer and contains the seal of the court. It bears the name and designation of the law enforcement officer who executes it and also contains the name and description of the person to be arrested. Further, it specifies the offence charged.
Key Differences Between Summon and Warrant
The points given below are relevant so far as the difference between summon and warrant is concerned:
- Summon can be understood as the legal order issued by the presiding officer to defendant or witness or any other person involved in a case. On the contrary, a warrant is described as a written authorization, issued by a judicial officer, i.e. a judge or magistrate, which authorizes the police officer to perform an act, for the regulation of justice.
- A summon contains a judicial order to appear or produce a document or thing before the court, whose non-compliance will result in the issuance of warrant against that person. Conversely, a warrant is an official authorization to the law enforcement officer to arrest the accused and produce before the court.
- A summons addresses the defendant or witness or any other person related to the case, whereas warrant addresses the police officer.
- Summons aims at notifying the person of the legal obligation to appear in the court. Unlike, a warrant is issued with an objective of bringing accused to the court, who’ve not appeared to the court, even after he/she is summoned.
Summons and warrant are two legal documents containing a written order, which a court issues after the case has been registered, that requires the person named in the document to appear before the court on the stipulated date.
First of all, the court issues summon to the person with respect to a legal proceeding, that bounds him/her to appear before the judge on the stipulated time and date, or otherwise, a warrant is issued by the court, against that person.