Police should ‘pull up their socks’, Madras HC issues directions to curb unnecessary arrests
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Police should ‘pull up their socks’, Madras HC issues directions to curb unnecessary arrests

Meera Emmanuel

The Madras High Court on Wednesday issued certain directions to curb the tendency to make unnecessary arrests in criminal investigations, including “Friday arrests”. The Court opined that it is time that the police pull up their socks and show more maturity in investigation techniques.

While allowing a plea for anticipatory bail, Justice N Anand Venkatesh also made note that there is a need in inculcate a culture against making arrests when it is unnecessary to the investigation, by invoking Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973.

It was observed that this, in turn, would also bring down the number of anticipatory bail pleas preferred before the Court. As stated in his order,

The Police must be made to understand that all Criminal Cases need not necessarily involve arrest of accused persons during investigation and an effective investigation can be done even otherwise. A change in attitude will bring down unnecessary filing of Anticipatory Bail Petitions. This procedure [under Section 41A, CrPC] can be effectively implemented in matrimonial disputes, commercial disputes, property disputes and other minor offences, to name a few.

Ultimately the aim is to stop unnecessary/hasty/illegal arrests. These arrests normally takes place on a Friday or a day prior to holidays to ensure that the accused does not come out on bail immediately. The popular Euphemism used is “Friday arrests”. The Tamil Nadu Police need to pull their socks up and need to show more quality and maturity in investigation techniques.”

Earlier, in the Nakheeran Gopal case, Justice Venkatesh had laid down detailed guidelines to be followed in matters of arrest and remand, to curb the misuse of police powers and remand jurisdiction. Court directions in the matter had also led to the State notifying a format to be followed when it comes to the application of Section 41A CrPC in cases where arrests are not required to be made by the police.

This Court had directed the DGP, Chennai to notify the Form/Notice to be issued to the accused persons, in line with the guidelines issued by the Delhi High Court in Amandeep Singh Johar .Vs. State of NCT Delhi and Another. The Form/Notice has now been notified and it has already come into effect. This Court therefore deems it necessary to inculcate the culture of putting to use the procedure u/S 41-A of Crl.P.C., to the Police in all cases where the offences carry a punishment of up to seven years or below.

Additionally, the Court has now directed that when anticipatory bail petitions are filed in the future, the police is to henceforth inform the Public Prosecutor as to whether they will be invoking the procedure under Section 41A and thereby refrain from making the arrest anticipated by the petitioner. This procedure may be first implemented at the High Court level, and thereafter extended to courts at all levels, states the order. The judge also added that this is not to state that the police should only decide on the invocation of Section 41A, CrPC when anticipatory bail pleas are filed.

The order passed to this effect states,

Henceforth in all Anticipatory Bail Petitions filed before this Court, and where the offence concerned carries a punishment of up to seven years or below, the Police shall instruct the Public Prosecutor in what all cases they are going to resort to the procedure under Section 41-A of Crl.P.C. In all those cases, this Court will record the same and pass necessary orders. In all other cases where the Police wants to arrest the accused persons, in the course of investigation, those Anticipatory Bail Petitions will be dealt with by this Court on merits.

It is not necessary that the Police must take a decision about resorting to the procedure under Section 41-A only when a Anticipatory Bail Petition is filed. They can independently take a decision regarding the same in accordance with with Guidelines (V) (c), (f), (g) and (h), provided by this Court in State .Vs. Nakkeeran, referred supra. This process shall, to start with, be implemented before this Court and once it settles down and becomes part of the procedure during investigation, it can be implemented before the Sessions Courts where, Anticipatory Bail Petitions are filed.

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