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Taking a serious note of courts issuing non-bailable warrants in casual and mechanical ways, the Supreme Court in a significant ruling has set the guidelines for issuing of such warrants.

A bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, Justice RV Raveendran and Justice Dalveer Bhandari said, “Non-bailable warrant should be issued to bring a person to court when summons of bailable warrants would be unlikely to have the desired result. This could be when:
It is reasonable to believe that the person will not voluntarily appear in court; or the police authorities are unable to find the person to serve him with a summon; or it is considered that the person could harm someone if not placed into custody immediately.

As far as possible, if the court is of the opinion that a summon will suffice in getting the appearance of the accused in the court, the summon or the bailable warrants should be preferred. The warrants either bailable or non-bailable should never be issued without proper scrutiny of facts and complete application of mind, due to the extremely serious consequences and ramifications which ensue on issuance of warrants. The court must very carefully examine whether the
Criminal complaint or FIR has not been filed with an oblique motive, said Justice Bhandari writing the verdict.

As the issuance of non-bailable warrants involves interference with personal liberty and arrest and imprisonment means deprivation of the most precious right of an individual liberty, the courts have to be extremely careful before issuing non-bailable warrants, bench said.

Just as liberty is precious for an individual so is the interest of the society in maintaining law and order. Both are extremely important for the survival of a civilized society. Sometimes in the larger interest of the Public and the State it becomes absolutely imperative to curtail freedom of an individual for a certain period, only then the non-bailable warrants should be issued, court said.

The bench said that the court should try to maintain proper balance between individual liberty and the interest of the public and the State while issuing non-bailable warrant.

The court took a serious note of casual and mechanical way of issue of such warrants. It has come to our notice that in many cases bailable and non-bailable warrants are issued casually and mechanically, said the court.

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