A lesson relating to Criminal Law at CS Executive level may intrigue many students. Does a Company Secretary in his professional competency have to deal with the Criminal Law extensively? The answer is No. As far as any core law other than corporate laws in the course, the lesson deal with the basics understanding that a professional should be aware of. The extensive practice always depends on the interest of every individual student.

With respect to Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC Act) in Executive syllabus it just provide some light to the students with relative procedural laws limited to safeguarding against incurring of liability for criminal offences by Directors, Secretary, Manager or other Principal Officer under different corporate and industrial laws.

Now getting too know the subject Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC Act) is an Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to Criminal Procedure. It’s basically the formulation of laws relating to the procedure to be followed in apprehending the criminals, investigating the criminal cases and their trial before the Criminal Courts. Generally the Code should be read along with the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Whereas, IPC is a substantive law and CrPC Act is a procedural law. It works together to establish the purpose of the law. Herein we will broadly cover the important terms and provisions under the CrPC.


The definitions under CrPC Act are important in order to interpret the right application under the provisions. Few are direct and few require quite an understanding.

OFFENCE – Section 2(n) of the CrPC Act defines the word “offence” to mean any act or omission made punishable by any law for the time being in force and Section 40 of the I.P.C. which states that “offence” denotes a thing made punishable by the Code.

It is quite direct as it says, if the code says act with is punishable is construed as Offence.


MENS REA – Mens rea means a guilty mind. The fundamental principle of penal liability is ‘an act itself does not constitute guilt unless done with a guilty intent’.

Mens Rea is an essential ingredient in every criminal offence. Unless an act is done with a guilty intention, it will not be criminally punishable. The general rule to be stated is “there must be a mind at fault before there can be a crime”. Being a subjective matter, Mens Rea is important element under CrPC.


BAIL – means the release of the accused from the custody of the officers of law and entrusting him to the private custody of persons who are sureties to produce the accused to answer the charge at the stipulated time or date.

Similarly, an “anticipatory bail” is granted by the High Court or a Court of Session. Anticipatory Bail is granted to a person who apprehends arrest for having committed a non-bailable offence, but has not yet been arrested.


BAILABLE OFFENCE and NON-BAILABLE OFFENCE – This distinction is very direct, an offence which is shown as bailable in the First Schedule of Cr.P.C. or which is made bailable by any other law is bailable offence. Other than bailable offence are non-bailable.


COGNIZABLE OFFENCE and NON-COGNIZABLE OFFENCE – “Cognizable offence” means an offence for which, and “cognizable case” means a case in which, a police officer may, in accordance with the law for the time being in force, arrest without warrant

“Non-cognizable offence” means an offence for which, and “non-cognizable” case means a case in which, a police officer has no authority to arrest without warrant. Thus, a non-cognizable offence needs special authority to arrest by the police officer.

(Note: It may be observed from the First Schedule that non-cognizable offences are usually bailable while cognizable offences are generally non-bailable).


COMPLAINT – “Complaint” means “any allegation made orally or in writing”“to a Magistrate”, “with a view to his taking action” under this Code that “some person, whether known or unknown, has committed an offence”, but it does not include a police report.


JUDICIAL PROCEEDING – It includes any proceeding in the course of which evidence is or may be legally taken on oath. The term judicial proceeding includes inquiry and trial but not investigation.


SUMMONS AND WARRANT CASES – “Summons case” means a case relating to an offence and not being a warrant case. A “Warrant case” means a case relating to an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding two years.

In simple, cases which are punishable with imprisonment for two years or less are summons cases, the rest are all warrant cases. Thus, the distinction is based on punishment which can be awarded.



A summons may be issued to an accused person or witness either for appearance or for producing a document or thing.. Every summons issued by the Court shall be in writing, in duplicate, signed by the Presiding Officer of such Court or by such officer as is authorised by the High Court and shall bear the seal of the Court (Section 61). The summons should be clear and specific in its terms as to the title of the Court, the place at which, the day and time of the day when, the attendance of the person summoned is required.



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. Such warrant shall remain in force until it is cancelled by the Court who issued the warrant of Arrest, or until it is executed (Section 70). The requisites of a warrant are as follows:

  • It must be in writing.
  • It must bear the name and designation of the person who is to execute it;
  • It must give full name and description of the person to be arrested;
  • It must state the offence charged;
  • It must be signed by the presiding officer; and
  • It must be sealed.

Such warrant is only for production of a person before the concerned Court and not before the police officer.



A Search warrant can be issued only:

  • Where the Court has reason to believe that a person summoned to produce any document or other thing will not produce it
  • Where such document or thing is not known to the Court to be in possession of any person
  • Where a general inspection or search is necessary.

However, a search warrant may be general or restricted in its scope as to any place or part thereof.



Summary trial is a speedy trial by dispensing with formalities or delay in proceedings. By summary cases is meant a case which can be tried and disposed of at once. Generally, it will apply to such offences not punishable with imprisonment for a term exceeding two years.

The kinds of offences that can be tried summarily have been stipulated under the Code. In every case tried summarily in which the accused does not plead guilty, the Magistrate shall record the substance of the evidence and a judgement containing a brief statement of the reason for the finding. The concerned Magistrate must sign such record and judgement.


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September 6, 2020

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