Arrest warrant

Warrant of arrest

Author: Santoshi karasi


An arrest warrant is a document issued by a judge or magistrate that authorizes the police to take someone accused of a crime into custody.

According to Merriam Webster, a warrant authorizing and commanding the arrest of a specific thing or person designated by name or by description.


Can police arrest any individual at any time?  Or the question may arise that do police always need a warrant to arrest any person?  Yes, it is prominent to know all our legal rights, since these rights benefit every individual to fight against unwanted trouble. Therefore, let’s initially understand what warrant generally means? In general terms, Warrant is an order of a court or magistrate to arrest accused of an offence. Further, if we see the Dictionary meaning then the warrant is defined as “a document issued by a legal or government official authorizing the police or another body to make an arrest, search premises, or carry out some other action relating to the administration of justice”.

What is the meaning of warrant of arrest?

Warrant of arrest is issued by the order of judge or magistrate or a court of law to the officials for the arrest of a person accused of an offence. Once the order is passed then the police officials will execute the order and will be legally allowed to arrest the accused at whatever place he/she founds.

The following are the essential requisites of warrant of arrest:

  1.  The Warrant must be in writing;
  2. It must be sealed.
  3. It must bear the name and designation of the person who is to execute the order;
  4.  It must give full name, address, and description of the person to be arrested;
  5. It must state the offence charged;
  6. It must be  signed by the presiding officer;
  7. It must be in the prescribed form; and
  8. A warrant can only be canceled by the order of the court.

Which chapter of Code of Criminal Procedure 1973(CRPC) deals with the Warrant of arrest?

The Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 is an Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the Criminal Procedure, it consists of 484 Sections and 56 Schedules which are divided into 37 chapters and further, chapter VI of CRPC deals with process compel appearance. Following are three modes of compelling appearance:

  1. Summons
  2. The arrest of Warrant; and
  3. Proclamation for person absconding.

Which Section of CRPC deals with the Warrant of arrest?

Section 70 of CRPC provides for the warrant of arrest and duration, according to Section 70 (1)Every warrant of arrest issued by a Court under this Code shall be in writing, signed by the presiding officer of such Court and shall bear the seal of the Court;

Section 70(2) specifically provides for the duration that every such warrant shall remain in force until it is canceled by the Court which issued it, or until it is executed, which means no other court has the power to cancel the warrant except the respective court.

The legal documents need to be issued in some forms, similarly the form of warrant of arrest is Form-2 of the second schedule, in addition, the warrant is required to be issued for any crime which is committed by any individual, Specifically for the protection of person before the concerned court & not before the police officer and for obeying the general procedure of law given as well.

Reasons for issuing warrant of arrest    

The warrant of arrest may be issued in specific circumstances where the judicial official beliefs that there is probable cause, which determines that the person has committed a crime, and such probable cause must be made on reasonable grounds, in addition to the same required to be supported by oath or affirmation. Further, the court may issue a warrant of arrest in many different incidents where the suspect is involved in the case of murder, rape, theft, kidnapping, fraud, and also where the suspect has absconded or disobeyed the summons. Although the grounds above mentioned for issuing a warrant of arrest are not the only grounds, the court may issue a warrant on any other reasonable grounds which are sufficient evidence to arrest an accused.

Who has the power to release accused?

  • The question of release of accused surely comes out after the arrest, legally the right to release the accused lies only to the person who has executed the order, but subject to security to be taken for the same. Section 71 of CRPC provides that any Court issuing a warrant for the arrest of any person in its discretion direct by endorsement on the warrant that, if such person pays the sufficient sum of money as s security then it may release the accused.
  • The endorsement  shall states:

A) The number of securities;

B) The amount in which they and the person for whose arrest the warrant is issued, are respectively bound; and

C) The time at which he is to attend before court.

  • Whenever security is taken under this section, the officer to whom the warrant is directed shall forward the same to the Court or magistrate.

Warrant to whom directed?

To whom the arrest warrant is directed needs to perceive in detail, Section 72 of CRPC provides for the same,

  • In general practice, a warrant of arrest shall ordinarily be directed to one or more police officers. However, if no police officer is available instantaneously, direct it to any other person or persons, and such person or persons shall execute the same;
  • In the case where the warrant is directed more officers or persons than one, it may be executed by all, or by anyone or more of them.

Against whom the warrant can be directed?

The court, chief judicial magistrate or magistrate of any class may issue the arrest warrant within its jurisdiction under Section 73 of CRPC against the following:

  • any person who has committed crime;
  •  for arrest of any escaped convict;
  • Proclaimed offenders;
  • Any person who is accused of non bailable offence

Once a person is arrested under a warrant, Section 76 becomes applicable, which clearly provides that person arrested must be taken before the nearest Magistrate or officer-in-charge of the police station without unnecessary delay provided that such delay should not exceed 24 hours exclusive of the time necessary for the journey from a place of arrest to Magistrate’s court.


These above provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure 1973(CRPC) clearly provide for the brief of a warrant, the warrant of arrest is necessary to produce in the cases relating to an offence punishable with death or life imprisonment or imprisonment for a term exceeding 2 years, therefore, the suspected person may ask for the warrant to be shown, then the police officer or other person executing a warrant of arrest shall also notify the substance thereof to the person to be arrested, and, if so required, shall show him the warrant as well. As a result of this, no illegal arrest can be made by a police officer, In addition, the above CRPC provisions also deal with a bailable warrant which means that the accused can also get bail after payment some security, and thus accused has a choice to get free from detention.