A coercive search of a person’s body or property is an encroachment upon his personal rights that ought to be protected by any civilized state. But even in civilized states its important to put some limitations on these rights in the larger interest of society. It has been observed in State V. Bhawani Singh AIR 1968 that “An Indian citizen’s house, it must always be remembered, is his castle, because next to his personal freedom comes the freedom of his home. Just as citizen cannot be deprived of his personal liberty except under authority of law, similarly, no officer of the state has a prerogative right to forcibly enter a citizen’s house except under the authority of law”
Whenever any court or a officer in charge of a police station considers any document or a thing important necessary for the purpose of investigation or inquiry or trial or other proceedings, it may issue a summon to the person in possession or in power of such document or thing requiring him to attend and produce it or to produce it at a time and place stated in the summon order. This has been laid down in section 91 of the Code of Criminal procedure, 1973.
However, section 93 states that in certain circumstances if the court is of the opinion and has reasons to believe that such order of summon to produce a document or a thing is not likely to be adhered to or any document or thing not known to be in possession of any person, the court may straight away issue a search warrant requiring an officer to search or inspect the property.
Person in-charge of closed place
Section 100 of the code states that whenever any place liable to be searched under a warrant or otherwise under the chapter is closed, any person who is a resident or in charge of such a place shall on demand afford all reasonable facilities to a police officer or the person authorized under the warrant free ingress thereto. And if such ingress cannot be so obtained then the police officer or the other person executing a warrant may proceed in a manner provided under section 47 i.e break open the premises.
Before every search under this section, the police officer or the other person authorized to make the search shall call upon two independent and respectable inhabitants of the locality as witnesses and if no such persons are available or willing then they shall be called upon by issuing a notice in writing. Any person refusing to attend to such search as a witness will be deemed to have committed an offence under section 187 IPC.
The search shall be made in presence of such witnesses and the seizure list(if any) shall be prepared by such officer and signed by the witnesses. Signed copies of the seizure list shall be delivered to the occupant or person or to the person of whom such seizure was made.
Search without warrant
If at any time the officer-in-charge of the police station in his jurisdiction finds it necessary that a search has to be conducted and there’s no time to apply for a warrant due to urgency he may do so but his reasons of doing so must be recorded in writing. That is he must have a reasonable cause for such urgency and the same shall be forwarded to the nearest magistrate having the authority to take cognizance of the offence.
Such search without a warrant as contemplated under section 165 CRPC as far as practicable must be done in person and if not a written authorization to any subordinate may be given recording the reasons of such search and the place and other information.