No ‘Unnecessary Arrests’ Under Section 498A, HC Tells Odisha Govt, Police; Check Must-Abide Guidelines

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has restrained police from making “unnecessary” arrests in cases under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, pertaining to harassment or cruelty towards a woman by her husband or in-laws over unlawful demand of property.

“It has to be ensured that police officers shall not arrest the accused unnecessarily and the Magistrate shall not authorize detention casually and mechanically,” the High Court registry said on Friday.

This followed the July 31 judgment of Supreme Court judgment, asking all high courts to issue guidelines for lower courts to deal with such cases after it quashed an order of Jharkhand High Court denying anticipatory bail to a man charged under Section 498A.

The notification has also directed state government to instruct police officers to satisfy themselves about the necessity for arrest under the parameters laid down in Section 41 CrPC when a case under Section 498-A IPC is registered. While seeking custody of the arrested person, the police officer “shall forward the checklist, containing specified sub-clauses under the section, and furnish the reasons and material which necessitated the arrest.” And the magistrate “shall peruse the report… and only after recording its satisfaction… will authorize detention”.

The decision not to arrest an accused must also be forwarded to the magistrate within two weeks of the institution of the case with a copy which may be extended by the superintendent of police of the district for the reasons to be recorded in writing. “Failure to comply with the directions aforesaid shall apart from rendering the police officers concerned liable for departmental action, they shall also be liable to be punished for contempt of court to be instituted before the High Court having territorial jurisdiction. Authorizing detention without recording reasons as aforesaid by the Judicial Magistrate concerned shall be liable for departmental action by the High Court.”

The direction would only apply to cases under Section 498 -A of IPC and Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act but also in cases where offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term, which may be less than seven years or which may extend to seven years, the notification added.


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