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Inter-State Arrests

  • 07 May 2022
  • 6 min read

For Prelims: Code of Criminal Procedure, Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution, Article 22(2) of the Constitution of India

For Mains: Inter-State Arrests, Police Reforms, Various Security Forces & Agencies & Their Mandate, Judgements & Cases

Why in News?

Recently, an arrest of a politician by Punjab Police precipitated a crisis after the Delhi Police registered a case of kidnapping against the Punjab Police team.

  • The raging row over the arrest has sparked off a debate over police jurisdiction and inter-state police cooperation.
  • The ramifications of such a politically driven process are nothing but a challenge to fairness and equality. Rather than becoming a topic of justice, the matter turns into the topic of political rivalry.

What is the Procedure for Making Inter-State Arrests?

  • Entry 2, List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution puts ‘Police’ in the State list, implying that all matters relating to police will be adjudicated upon by the state government.
  • Broadly, the intent of the law has been that a criminal in a particular state must be arrested by the police of that state.
    • However, in certain circumstances the law does allow the police of one state to arrest an accused in another state.
  • This may be done by the execution of a warrant issued by a competent court, or even without a warrant — in which case the concerned state police must inform the local police about the arrest.
  • State police forces across the country regularly make arrests in other states. In the normal course, this is done with the assistance of the local police.
    • In many cases, however, the local police are merely informed before or after the arrest.

What does the Law say on Inter-state Arrests?

  • Section 79 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) deals with inter-state arrests based on warrants issued by competent courts.
    • This section lays down detailed procedures for such arrests. However, the powers of the police to arrest an accused in another state have not been defined clearly as far as arresting without a warrant is concerned.
  • Section 48 of the CrPC gives the police such powers, but the procedure is not defined.
    • Section 48 merely says, “A police officer may, for the purpose of arresting without warrant any person whom he is authorized to arrest, pursue such person into any place in India.”
    • It has been debated whether the word “pursue” in this section means entering another state in a chase or is applicable to an accused who is staying in another state and is not cooperating with investigators.
  • Article 22(2) of the Constitution of India: Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest.
    • The 24 hours excludes the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate.
    • Further, no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate.”
    • This is also laid down in Sections 56 and 57 of the CrPC.

How have the Courts Read the Law on Inter-State Arrests?

  • In 2019, in ‘Sandeep Kumar vs The State (Govt. Of NCT Of Delhi)’ case, the Delhi High Court issued certain guidelines for inter-state arrests. For example,
    • These state that a police officer must seek permission from his superior, in writing or on the phone, to visit another state to arrest a criminal.
    • He must record reasons for a such a move in writing, and first make an endeavor to get an arrest warrant from a court except in “emergent cases”.
    • “Before visiting the other State, the Police Officer must endeavor to establish contact with the local Police Station in whose jurisdiction he is to conduct the investigation.
  • The guidelines make an exception for “urgent cases”, in which the police of a state may not inform their counterparts in the other state of an impending arrest.

Way Forward

  • The Supreme Court acknowledged that political interference is acting as an impediment to a fair investigation.
    • Additionally, the Second Administrative Commission also mentioned that increasing political interference has taken a toll on its accountability and the politicians are using the police for personal or political gain.
  • Thus, there is an urgent need to carry out much needed Police Reforms.

Source: IE

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