Unlawful or wrongful arrest in India represents a grave miscarriage of justice, where individuals are apprehended by Law enforcement without proper evidence or due process. It has been a persistent issue in India, that continues to plague the country’s criminal justice system.
In such cases, the legal framework plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the rights and liberties of individuals. This article explores the phenomenon of wrongful arrest in India and also examines the related legal provisions.
Legal provisions against wrongful arrest-
- Article 21 of the Indian Constitution: The preservation of life and individual freedom are guaranteed by this fundamental right. The judiciary has understood it to cover the freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention. Any arrest that transgresses the values of fairness and reasonableness is unconstitutional.
- Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC): This section lays down the circumstances under which a police officer can arrest a person without a warrant. It mandates that an arrest can only be made legally when there is a reasonable complaint, credible information, or a reasonable suspicion that the accused has committed a cognizable offense. This provision aims at preventing arbitrary arrests.
- Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC): This section requires the issuance of a notice to appear before the police officer in question rather than an immediate arrest where the offense is punishable by up to 7 (seven) years in prison. This provision is intended to reduce unnecessary arrests.
- Section 50 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC): This provision of law ensures that every person arrested without a warrant is informed of the grounds for their arrest and their right to bail. This section is essential for the prevention of arbitrary arrest.
- Section 57 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC): According to this provision, a person who has been arrested without a warrant cannot be held for more than 24 hours without first appearing before a magistrate. It stops unjustified, protracted detention.
- Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC): This section governs the procedure when the investigation cannot be completed within 24 hours. It emphasizes the need for judicial oversight by requiring the accused to be produced before a magistrate, who has the jurisdiction to decide on further custody.
- Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC): The prosecution of public employees for actions taken while doing their official duties requires government approval. Although this is meant to insulate public officials from pointless or malicious prosecutions, it shouldn’t be abused to cover up wrongdoing.
Wrongful arrest in India is a serious violation of individual rights and the rule of law, and although legal provisions exist to prevent such incidents, their effective implementation is often lacking there is. Reforms that focus on raising awareness, improving accountability, and ensuring due process are important steps to address this problem and uphold the principles of justice and freedom enshrined in the Indian Constitution.