As per Article 21 of the Indian constitution, Every person has the right to life and personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. It means a person only can be deprived of his right by lawful means if he/she commits an act forbidden by law or punishable by law. A person can be detained or arrested if he has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.
Section 41 to 60 of the code of criminal procedure,1973 covers the provision of arresting an accused. The term Arrest has been neither defined in Cr.P.C nor IPC or any other enactment dealing with the provision of the criminal offense. The Arrest means taking the body of a person into custody to prevent him from moving out. The deprivation of personal liberty by the way of confinement is known as an arrest.
There are two types of arrests. Firstly, the Arrest was made in pursuance of a warrant issued by a magistrate in Non-cognizable offenses, and secondly, the arrest was made without a warrant in case of cognizable offenses. Now, the question arises who can arrest a person for his criminal conduct? As per the provision of Section 41 and 44 of Cr.P.C, An arrest can be made by police and magistrate respectively. Any police officer may with/without a warrant, arrest any person.
In the case of Joginder Kumar v. the State of U.P. (1994), it was held that no arrest can be made merely because it is lawful to do so. There must be a justifiable reason to arrest. In some cases, a private person may arrest a person under section 43 of Cr.P.C, who in his presence commits any cognizable or Non-bailable offense. But he must take the arrested person to a police officer or the nearest police station without any unreasonable delay. If he keeps the arrested person in his custody, he will be guilty of the offense of wrongful confinement according to section 342 of the Indian penal code,1872.
Responsibilities of Arresting Authority
One of the basic tenets of the Indian legal system is the presumption of innocence. Every person accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. So, Every arrested person has some rights and it is the duty of arresting authority to take necessary measures, so his rights will be protected. Let’s discuss the duties of arresting officer in brief.
- Duty to inform the ground of arrest to the arrested person- The right to be informed of the grounds of arrest is the most important right of the arrested person. As per article 22(1) of the constitution and section 50(1) of Cr.P.C, Every person who is arrested or detained in custody by a police officer, without any warrant, has the right to know the grounds on which he was arrested, and the arresting officer must inform him the reasonable ground of detention.
- Duty to inform the arrested person about the provision of bail- As per Section 50(2) Cr.P.C, the arresting officer has to inform the arrested person who is arrested without a warrant, for committing an offense other than a non-bailable offense, about his right to release on bail. This will help the accused person who is not aware of his rights.
- Duty to inform about the arrest of the person his relatives or friend- As per the provision of Section 50A of Cr.P.C, the arresting officer should give the information regarding the arrest of the person and the place where the arrested person is kept to the relatives, friends, or any person selected by the arrested person to give such information immediately after his arrest.
- Duty to produce the arrested person before a magistrate- Section 57 and 76 of the code of criminal procedure obliges the arresting officer to produce the person who is arrested, without a warrant, before the magistrate without any unreasonable delay within 24 hours from the time when his arrest was made. If the police officer fails to produce the arrested person before the court within 24 hours, he shall be held guilty of the offense of wrongful confinement.
- Duty to medical examination of the arrested person- As per Section 53 of Cr.P.C, the court may give an order to arresting authority for medical examination of the arrested person by a medical practitioner, at the request of the arrested person.
Sometimes, it is seen that the police misuse their power to arrest unreasonably and keep the arrested person in custody for many days to compel the arrested person to give confessions. They use their position to threaten the arrested person and use unreasonable force, which leads to fear and disbelief towards the legal system among the public. So, in the end, we can say that it is the responsibility of police officers to protect the rights of the common people as well as the rights of the accused/arrested person as they are also part of society.
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