Allahabad HC sentences Police Officer to 14 Day Imprisonment for violating ‘Arnesh Kumar Guidelines’

Police Officer held guilty of contempt for guidelines laid out by the Supreme Court pertaining to arrest and detention in the landmark case

Arnesh Kumar Guidelines
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Last week, the Allahabad High Court sentenced a police officer to undergo simple imprisonment for 14 days after holding him guilty of contempt for violating the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar. The officer had allegedly attempted to give a communal colour to the case where the accused was a Muslim man, by stating that there was an apprehension of communal riots.

In the present case of Re v. Shri Chandan Kumar, Investigating Officer, the bench of Justice Suneet Kumar and Justice Syed Waiz Mian held that the Police Officer being a member of the disciplined Force, in exercise of his powers of arrest, has “wilfully and deliberately bypassed the mandate of the Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar (supra), which is binding on all the authorities, including, the Magistrate, in view of Article 141 of the Constitution of India.”

The Court noted, “Even though the Officer has served a notice under Section 41-A Cr.P.C. on the accused, he wilfully and deliberately recorded in the GD that accused declined to accept the terms and condition of the notice.”

With respect to the apprehension of communal riots, the Court further noted that there was no apprehension of the communal riots, as the FIR was not lodged at the police station until intervention by the higher authorities. Moreover, the court noted that there was no entry in the GD that there was any such apprehension of communal flare up in the event of the accused not being arrested.

The Officer prayed for a sympathetic view on the quantum of his punishment for the reason that he is a young officer and sole bread earner of his family including four brothers, one sister and a pregnant wife. He tendered an unconditional apology as the said punishment would have adverse effects on his career. However, the court did not accept his apology as a matter of last resort and refused to take a sympathetic view for it would not sub-serve public interest and the administration of justice.

The Court sentenced the Officer to undergo simple imprisonment for 14 days and imposed a fine of Rs. 1,000/- (on default of which he shall undergo one week further simple imprisonment). However, the court ordered the sentence to be kept in abeyance for 60 days from the date of the order as the contemnor Officer prayed that he would like to prefer an appeal under Section 19 of Contempt of Court Act, 1971.

The order may be read here: 

In Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar (2014) 8 SCC 273, having apprehensions related to arrest under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, the Court ordered that no arrests will be made automatically in cases under Section 498-A.

The Court further elucidating the role of magistrates and police officers in making arrests, laid the following guidelines:

  1. State governments had to instruct police officers to not directly arrest person when registered with offence under S. 498-A. It may be necessary when it falls under Section 41 of the CrPC.

  2. Checklist under Section 41 (1) (b) (ii) need to be given to all police officers.

  3. While producing accused before magistrate for further detention, this check list to be duly filled and also having the reason and material necessary for making the arrest

  4. Relying on this report and only after recording the reason for arrest and on magistrate’s satisfaction, will further detention be granted.

  5. If not arresting accused, this decision be forwarded to magistrate within two weeks from when case instituted with copy of Magistrate extended by the Superintendent of police of the district for the reason to be recorded in writing.

  6. Notice of Appearance as per Section 41-A CrPC is to be served to accused within two weeks from when case instituted and which may be extended by the Superintendent of Police after recording the reason in writing.

  7. If directions not complied with, police officers liable for contempt of Court before the High Court having jurisdiction.

  8. If detention is authorized by Judicial magistrate without recording reasons, they be liable for departmental proceedings by the High Court.

  9. Further, these directions were to not only apply to cases under Section 498-A or Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, but also all such cases where offences are punishable with seven years or lesser imprisonment, irrespective of the fine.

  10. The copy of this order was to be forwarded to all the chief secretaries and DGPs of all the states and Union territories as well as the Registrar Generals of all high courts in order to ensure compliance with.


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