Criminal law is the system of law concerned with the
punishment of offences. An offence in simple terms means and act or omission
punishable under law. For example, murder, robbery, theft etc. Whenever an
offence is committed it is either reported to the police by way of a FIR or by
way of a complaint to the Magistrate. Once an offence has been reported the
police either investigates the matter or an inquiry is conducted by the court
depending on the nature of the offence. Subsequently the charge sheet is framed
and if the case is made out the trial before the Criminal Court commences.
What is a proclaimed Offender?
In the due course of trial summons and warrants may be
issued against the accused person by the court, in order to ensure his
appearance. The court may issue Bailable or Non-Bailable Warrants
depending on the nature of the offence. Further, the court may also first issue
Bailable Warrants and then subsequently upon non-appearance by the accused the
court may issue Non-Bailable Warrants. If even after issuance of Non-Bailable
Warrants the accused does not care to appear in court, then the court may
publish a written proclamation requiring the accused to appear at a specific
place at a specific time.
The court may publish a written proclamation requiring a
person against whom a warrant of arrest has been issued, but he has absconded
or concealed himself so that such warrant can not be executed, to appear at a
specific place at a specific time not less than thirty days from the date of
publishing such proclamation. The proclamation shall be published as follows:
It shall be publicly read in some conspicuous place of the
town or village in which such person ordinarily resides.
It shall be affixed to some conspicuous part of the house or
homestead in which such person ordinarily resides or to some conspicuous place
of such town or village.
A copy thereof shall be affixed to some conspicuous
part of the Courthouse.
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 such person ordinarily resides.
Where a proclamation is and such person fails to appear at
the specified place and time required by the proclamation, the Court may, after
making such inquiry as it thinks fit, pronounce him a proclaimed offender and
make a declaration to that effect.
The court may also 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 subject to relevant provisions as mentioned.
It is a settled proposition of law that before declaring an
accused as an absconder the court has to be satisfied that accused has left his
permanent residence or he is avoiding arrest or that there is no chance of
arrest in the near future. In no other instance can a person be declared as a
Once a person has been declared a proclaimed offender, the
remedy available is filing of a quashing petition of the order declaring the
accused person as a proclaimed offender directly in High Court having the
jurisdiction. In case the Proclaimed offender is a NRI and was not present in
India at the time he was declared as a proclaimed, he can make an application
to the High Court asking for quashing of the order declaring him as a
Proclaimed Offender. Further, he would have to surrender before the court
in which the case is pending. Also another relief that can be sought in such
quashing petition is that in case the accused person surrenders before the
court, he should not be arrested and should be released on bail immediately
upon surrender as the accused is willing to face trial.
Thus, the ordinary process to compel attendance is issuance
of summons. When summons so issued are not served then the court can issue a
warrant. When the warrant issued is not executed then the court may issue a
proclamation requiring the accused to appear at a specific place at a specific
time and may also attach the property. And even after that if the accused does
not appear he can be declared as a proclaimed offender. However, the court must
ensure that the accused is absconding or concealing himself in order to evade
arrest. Once a person is declared as a proclaimed offender, he can file a
quashing petition against such proclamation in the High Court.