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Arrest in breach of 'Arnesh Kumar' guidelines - Police officer sentenced to one day imprisonment

Arrest in breach of 'Arnesh Kumar' guidelines - Police officer sentenced to one day imprisonment

Rakesh Kumar Vs Vijayanta Arya DCP and Ors

Delhi HC


CONT.CAS(C) 480/2020 & CM APPL. 25054/2020

About/from the judgment:

In a significant judgment, the High Court held a police officer guilty of contempt of court for arresting a man in violation of the principles laid down by the Supreme Court in the case Arnesh Kumar vs State of Bihar. The Court sentenced the police officer to one-day imprisonment for contempt of court.

The Court also imposed a fine of Rupees 2000 on the police officer and directed him to pay costs of Rupees 15,000 to the petitioner, who had suffered incarceration for 11 days before release on bail.

In the judgment, the Court observed that subsequent release or acquittal of an innocent is no reparation to the loss of reputation and personal liberty caused by illegal arrest.

"No amount of explanation to the neighbours or those who may have seen the arrest, would undo the embarrassment and indignity suffered by the petitioner and his relatives. Arrest and incarceration destroys a person and collaterally affects many other innocent relatives. Subsequent release or acquittal of an innocent, is of no solace and offers no reparation to the loss of reputation or for the temporary loss of precious personal liberty," the Court said.

The Court took note of the fact that while there were allegations of criminal breach of trust against the petitioner which entailed a maximum sentence of three years, the same did not warrant the arrest in the manner in which it was done. As per the Arnesh Kumar judgment, arrest should be the exception where the offence is punishable with less than 7 years imprisonment and notice for appearance under Section 41A CrPC should be served on the accused in such cases instead of arrest. Arrest can be made in exceptional circumstances in such cases, but the reasons have to be recorded in writing.

The Court was of the view that the petitioner's own complaints to the police were not responded to and that the highhandedness of the police officer was evident.

"The petitioner's right to personal liberty is ensured by the Constitution of India. It can be curtained only by a procedure prescribed established by law. The Supreme Court has said in Arnesh Kumar that notice under s. 41A Cr.P.C. is requisite. The notice was not served. The law has been breached. It is not the petitioner only who has suffered the humiliation and the indignity of being arrested; the ordeal would have affected the reputation of his family i.e. his children, wife and parents," the Court added.

Further adding that a stigma gets attached to the person who is taken away, detained or put behind bars by the police, the Court said that the police officer was deemed to have due knowledge of the rights of a citizen and the procedure prescribed in law.

"In view of the above and keeping in mind that R-3 is a serving police officer with Delhi Police, that he has served for seven years and may have a long career ahead of him, R-3 is sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment for one day, along with a fine of Rs.2,000/-, as well as nominal costs of Rs.15,000/- for these proceedings, to be paid by him to the petitioner within four weeks," the Court directed.

The Court kept the order in abeyance for two months to given an opportunity to the officer to appeal against it.

Read the Judgment


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