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It is a written order issued by a judicial officer or other authorised person commanding a law enforcement officer to perform some incident or act to the administration of justice. Warrants are recognised differently as per the variety of purposes in the law. The person who ignores the appearance in court is also brought by issuing the Warrant. Mostly, police use warrants as the basis to arrest a suspect and to conduct a search of property for evidence of a crime.

Types of Warrants in India

There are three main types of criminal warrants;

Arrest Warrant

An arrest warrant is a warrant issued on behalf of the state by a magistrate or judge, which authorises the arrest and detention of an individual, or the search and seizure of an individual's property. Arrest Warrant includes a bailable arrest warrant and a non- bailable arrest warrant.

Bailable Arrest Warrant

It is a Warrant to be executed by a policeman, but after the execution, the person arrested can be released by providing a bail which can be bond or cash as per the warrant. Non Bailable warrant - Warrant, where arresting or executing police officer, cannot do anything but remand the accused to police station and produce the accused before a magistrate who issued the warrant who will then either recall the warrant with fine or send the accused to judicial custody and order the accused to go to court and apply for regular bail.

Essentials of Arrest Warrant

The Warrant must mention the name and other particulars of the person to be arrested. Every Arrest Warrant shall be in writing, as per section 70(1). It is to be signed by the presiding officer of the court and must have the seal of the court. It must show the person whom the authority to arrest has been given. A magistrate may direct a warrant to any person within his jurisdiction for the arrest of any person accused of a non- bailable offence and is evading his arrest. If a person who is arrested under the warrant executes a bond and gives the security for the attendance in court, he shall be released at the discretion of the court.

Bench Warrant

The arrest warrant that is ordered by a judge against the defendant in a criminal case or any similar proceedings is known as a bench warrant. A bench warrant is issued when one fails to appear before the court. The term “bench” is derived from the traditional meaning for the judge's seat.

In severe criminal cases, a failure to appear will most likely lead to a “regular” arrest warrant, which would drive immediate attempts to locate and detain the defendant or an accused. A bench warrant does not mean that the police will be at the door of the defendant the next morning. However, the name of the defendant will be circulated into a statewide computer system that usually serves the entire law enforcement centre. Once the name comes in the database, and an individual has to deal with the police for any reason – even from an incident that was not his fault, such as someone hitting the car from behind – individual will be taken into custody for the outstanding bench warrant.

Difference between Bench Warrant and Arrest Warrant

Arrest Warrant

Generally, the police are supposed to obtain an arrest warrant, issued by a judge based on probable cause, before taking an individual into custody. There are, however, exceptions to this general rule that allows police to conduct warrantless arrests.

Bench Warrant

A judge issues a bench warrant when an individual fails to appear in court. It is not at the request of the police. It is based on the court's jurisdiction over individuals to require their appearance in court.

Search Warrant

It is an order issued by magistrate or judge to authorize law officers to search for a person, his vehicle or location, to get evidence for a crime and to seize any evidence if found. In some countries, a search warrant cannot be issued in the civil proceedings.

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