Summon Procedure

This article provides an insight into the procedure of sending and receiving summons from any authority, tribunal or court. A summon is basically a call to appear for an adjudicating authority and is often regarded as the first step in a legal proceeding. It is essential to understand its key elements to ensure that no rules are violated upon its receipt.

Tue May 10 2022 | Employment, Criminal and Labour | Comments (0)


In  daily life, we always hear the word 'Summon', for instance, the Enforcement Directorate or the court summoning a prominent person . A Summon is a call by a court or any administrative body of the government, in written, to an individual to appear in court or a concerned office in person, at a specified time and place regarding any investigation or enquiry on any matter or case. A summon may be issued in both criminal and in civil cases.

Essentials of a Summon

Following are the essential elements of a summon:-

  1. A summon should be clear and specified with the reason of summoning.
  2. A summon must be attested with the seal of the court or concerned office.
  3. It should have an official name and address of the person summoned.
  4. There should be specified date, time and place mentioned in the summon  asking the presence of the person  in the court.
  5. It must contain the nature of the offence committed.


A summon is served in the following manner:-

  1. Every summon shall be served by a police officer, or by an officer of the court issuing, it or any other public servant.
  2. The summon shall, if practical, be served personally on the person summoned, by delivering or tendering to him one of the duplicates of the summons.
  3. Every person on whom a summon is served shall sign a receipt on the back of the other duplicate.


Where the persons summoned cannot be found, the summons may be served by leaving one of the duplicates for the person with some adult male member of the family residing with him, and the person with whom the summon is left, shall sign a receipt on the back of the duplicate. A summon cannot be delivered  to a servant, because a servant is not a member of the family


A court issuing summons to a witness may simultaneously direct a copy of the summons to be served by registered post addressed to the witness. When an acknowledgment purporting to be signed by the witness or an endorsement is made by the postal employee that the witness refused to take delivery of the summons has been received, the Court issuing the summons may declare that the summons has been duly served.

In case the service of summons is evaded, the court may issue bailable or non-bailable warrants


If any court has reason to believe that any person against whom a warrant has been issued has absconded or is concealing himself so that such warrant cannot be executed, such court may publish a written proclamation requiring him to appear at a specified place and time within 30 days of publishing such proclamation.
The proclamation shall be published as follows:-

  1. It shall be publicly read in some conspicuous place of the town or village in which such person ordinarily resides;
  2. It shall be affixed in some conspicuous part of the house or homestead in which such person ordinarily resides or to some conspicuous place of such town or village;
  3. A copy thereof shall be affixed to some conspicuous part of the court house;
  4. The court may also, if it thinks fit, direct a copy of the proclamation to be published in a daily newspaper circulating in the place in which person resides.


The Court issuing a proclamation may, at any time after the issue of the proclamation, order the attachment of any property, movable or immovable or both, belonging to the proclaimed person. The Court may order the attachment simultaneously with the issue of the proclamation.

Provided, where at the time of issue of the proclamation, the Court is satisfied that the person in relation to whom the proclamation is to be issued

  1. disposal of the whole or any part of his property, or
  2. removal of the whole or any part of his property from the local jurisdiction of the Court,

Exemption from personal appearance in Summon

In civil cases, there are ways to exempt from personal appearance as Civil Procedure Code provides some provisions for exemption.

Order V Rule 4 give lays down  conditions where a person can be exempted from  personal appearance or can send his representative or advocate to the court for appearance by filing an application before the court.

Section 132 of the CPC provides exemptions for certain women , who  cannot appear before the public  in lieu of any law or personal circumstances.

Section 133 of CPC provides exemption from personal appearance to a person who is holding any constitutional position.

In Criminal matters, there are very few exceptions for exemption from personal appearance.

Section 205 of Criminal Procedure Code, provides discretion to the court to give exemption to an accused from personal appearance at the time of commencement of proceedings.

Section 317 ofCrPC , provides exemption from personal appearance at all stages after the commencement of trial.  


Upon receiving the summons, the person summoned has the following obligations:-

  1. To accept the summons and sign the duplicate, if required.
  2. To treat the officer serving the summon with respect.
  3. To appear on the date mentioned in the summons or engage a lawyer to appear on your behalf.

A person can answer a summon through his legal representator / advocate. If the person is unable to  hire an  advocate, then the person can answer the summon to the court by himself. The person can contact the clerk of the concerned  court and can submit the answer of summon with the all required documents and fees.

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