SRINAGAR: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has established guidelines concerning the arrest, detention, and bail of individuals accused in criminal cases.
The directions are applicable to all criminal cases involving offences that may result in imprisonment for up to seven years, with or without a fine.
According to a notification from the High Court’s Registrar General, these guidelines were formulated in line with the Supreme Court’s directives in Md Asfak Alam vs State of Jharkhand, in which the court called for authorities to avoid unnecessary arrests.
The High Court has also warned that failure to adhere to these guidelines could subject the erring police officers to departmental action and contempt of court proceedings.
Furthermore, if a magistrate authorises the detention of an accused without recording reasons, they may also face departmental action by the High Court.
The issued guidelines are as follows;
Police officers should not automatically arrest individuals accused under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which pertains to cruelty to married women by their spouses or in-laws.
The police must first ascertain whether it is necessary to arrest the accused based on the criteria in Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which outlines situations where police may arrest without a warrant.
Police officers should be made aware of the checklist in Section 41(1)(b)(ii) of the CrPC, which specifies additional circumstances necessitating an arrest. When an accused is presented before a magistrate for further detention, this checklist and the reasons or evidence justifying the arrest should be submitted to the magistrate.
The magistrate may only authorize further detention of the accused after reviewing the report submitted by the police and being satisfied regarding the need for extended detention.
If a decision is made not to arrest an accused after a case has been initiated, this must be communicated to the magistrate within two weeks, which may be extended with recorded reasons by the superintendent of police.
After a case is filed, the accused should be served a notice to appear before the police under Section 41A of the CrPC, which addresses situations where arrest is not necessary, within two weeks. This time frame may be extended by the superintendent of police with documented reasons.