HYDERABAD: Along with the advent of new year, 2011, a strange thing happened in Nampally court in the first week of January. When Hyderabad city police did a routine job of producing a youth in court on charges of petty theft, his lawyer K Surender told the court that the arrest of his client was illegal as it was against the provisions of a newly-amended CrPC Act-2008 that came into force at the end of 2010.
The cause he showed for this was that the police did not obtain an arrest warrant from the court prior to the arrest as mandated by the new law. The magistrate verified with the circular available with him that was sent to him by the AP High Court and found that what the counsel said was right and let the accused off then and there itself.
On Saturday, when several TV channels began beaming stories about the new law and also certain incorrect notions about the new law, the DGP office issued a press note clarifying that the CrPC Amendment Act had not made any provisions for release of arrested persons on bail. It only stipulated that the police officers have to give sufficient reason while requesting for remand of the arrested persons, the note said, acknowledging the fact that they have to go by the new law now onwards.
To put it in simple terms, police cannot straightaway arrest people in offences like cheating, theft, forgery, etc., which are punishable up to seven years of imprisonment only. They have to convince a court and obtain a warrant of arrest to do so. Prior to that they have to issue a notice of appearance before the police to the accused. If the accused fails to comply with the notice, then he is liable for arrest. But then, the police officer has to identify himself clearly and get an arrest memo countersigned by one of the relatives of the accused before making such an arrest.
The amended Act also gives several rights to the arrested person like having an opportunity of meeting a lawyer of his choice during interrogation, though not throughout the interrogation. These and many new provisions have been brought into force now.
Speaking to TOI on the new law, state public prosecutor Vinod Kumar Deshpande described this Act as a new piece of legislation that prevents illegal detentions. The provisions incorporated in Sections 41 A, 41B, 41C, and 41 D of the Act give relief both to the people and to the police also. Apart from providing several protections to the personal liberty of a citizen, the new law also prevents unwarranted criticism against upright police officers who go strictly by the rule book, the PP said.
Moreover, the state has to now set up a police control room in every district and has to display the names of the arrested, the names of those police officials who effected these arrests and the details of the cases, Deshpande said.
This new law will also prevent third degree methods because it is now mandatory for the police to get the accused examined by a government doctor immediately after the arrest, he said. This will help the accused in two ways. The doctor's version will carry the date of his arrest and the condition of the body of the accused after the arrest. This way there cannot be any delays in producing the accused in the court, he said.