Police need to follow SC guidelines for casual arrests

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The Delhi High Court voiced its concerns on the police not following guidelines, which have been made clear by the Supreme Court, while making casual arrests .

In a case that came up in court, a man and his mother were looking for legal protection from the arrest which had been made out for them. The mother son duo have been accused of dowry harassment in a complaint registered by the wife and so a case had been registered under Section 498A of the IPC (dowry harassment, cruelty). It was brought to notice that the first attempt should be to save a marriage and the probe agencies should be careful while arresting the family members.

Kamini Lau, the Additional Sessions Judge, made clear that the police need to follow the checklist/ guidelines which have been laid down by the Supreme Court against casual arrests in cases under Section 498A of the IPC as also under cases where punishment is for seven years or less.

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The apex court had also warned and directed the police, back in July, of its need to first convince itself of the requirement of an arrest and the magistrate to record its satisfaction before it actually goes ahead and authorizes any kind of imprisonment.

Justice Lau excerpted, “…time and again it has been impressed upon by the apex court that in a case registered under Section 498A of the IPC the first attempt should be to save a marriage and the investigating agency should be cautious while arresting all the family members since that would only ruin the chances of reconciliation between the parties.”

The court also cited the July 02 Supreme Court judgment in the case Arnesh Kumar vs. State of Bihar in which the court had to lay down a number of checklists and conditions to be fulfilled as the section under which the applicant had been charged was little convincing for the apex court. The court had also mentioned clearly about the abuse of power there had been in play and this checklist had been extended to other cases with punishment less than seven years.

The Delhi High Court was moved by the pleas for anticipatory bails by a North-West Delhi resident Manoj and his mother. The two were taken into custody against Manoj’s wife complaint, who had left the matrimonial house within six months of the marriage and then lodged a complaint in Amritsar, Punjab.

It should be noted that there was no order from the Superintendent of Police to the investigating officer to arrest the applicants, which is actually a prerequisite as per the Supreme Court guidelines.

The court noted that the “investigating officer (of Punjab police) admits that only allegations against the applicants/ accused are oral and non-specific without any supporting documents in the form of MLCs to prima facie confirm the allegations of beating and hence under the given circumstances the possibility of the abuse of the provisions of Section 498A only for purposes of creating pressure upon the in-laws cannot be ruled out,” Reported The Hindu.