Can Police Arrest without Warrant?


February 21, 2018

As a general rule a Police cannot arrest an accused without warrant. However, there are certain exceptional circumstances enumerated in Law under which a Police can make an arrest without warrant.

Section 41 of Code of Criminal Procedure  envisages the circumstances under which an arrest can be made without warrant.

Circumstances under which an arrest can be made without warrant

  1. When any person is actually concerned or reasonably suspected to be concerned in a cognizable offence
  2. Any person, who in the presence of such an officer has been accused of committing a non-cognizable offence and refuses to give his true name or residence.
  • Any person concerned or reasonably suspected to be concerned in any act committed at a place outside India which if committed in India would be punishable as an offence for which he would be liable to be apprehended or detained in custody in India.
  1. Any person for whose arrest any requisition is received from another police officer competent to arrest that person without a warrant
  2. Any person reasonably suspected of being a deserter from any of the Armed Forces of the Union
  3. Any person found in possession of any implement of house-breaking without any lawful excuse
  • Any person found in possession of property reasonable suspected to be stolen and who may be reasonably suspected of having committed an offence with reference to such property
  • Any person obstructing a Police officer in the discharge of his duties
  1. Any person who has escaped from lawful custody
  2. Any released convict committing a breach of any rule made under Section 356(5) of CrPC
  3. Any person designing to commit a cognizable offence which cannot be prevented (except) by the arrest of such a person
  • A police officer incharge of a police station may as a preventive measure arrest without warrant any person belonging to one or more of the categories of persons specified in Section 109 or Section 110  e. persons taking precautions to conceal their presence with a view of committing a cognizable offence, habitual robbers, housebreakers, thieves, etc. and persons habitually indulging in the commission of certain social and economic offences.

Can a person other than Police Officer make an arrest without warrant?

Yes, a person other than a Police officer can arrest a suspect without warrant. Section 43 of CrPC states that any private person may arrest without a warrant-

  1. If any person commits a non-bailabe and cognizable offence in his presence; or
  2. Any proclaimed offender;

Such a private person arresting another shall without delay handover the arrested person in custody to the nearest police station.

A Magistrate can also arrest without warrant 

Magistrate can arrest without warrant if:

  1. If any person commits any offence within the local jurisdiction of and in the presence of such Magistrate
  2. Any person within his local jurisdiction for whose arrest he is competent to issue a warrant;

Powers of arrest under Section 151 of CrPC

Section 151 of CrPC provides for arrest to prevent the commission of cognizable offences. This statutory provision empowers the police to arrest any person, without orders from a Magistrate and without warrant, “if it appears to such officer” that such person is designing to commit a cognizable offence and that the commission of offence cannot be prevented otherwise.

The bare perusal of the aforesaid legal provision reflects that the legislative intent is to prevent commission of a non-bailable and cognizable offence.