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Delhi High Court jails sub-inspector for one day for violating arrest rules

The High Court also imposed a  nominal cost of Rs 15,000 for these proceedings, to be paid by the SI to the petitioner.

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The Delhi High Court sentenced a Delhi Police sub-inspector to undergo simple imprisonment for one day, along with a fine of Rs 2,000, for arresting a person in contempt of guidelines laid down by the Apex Court.

The High Court also imposed a  nominal cost of Rs 15,000 for these proceedings, to be paid by the SI to the petitioner.

A single-judge bench of Justice Nazmi Waziri observed that the petitioner’s right to personal liberty is ensured by the Constitution of India. It can be curtained only by a procedure prescribed by law.

The court said:

The Supreme Court has said in Arnesh Kumar that notice under 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. No amount of explanation to the neighbors or those who may have seen the arrest, would undo the embarrassment and indignity suffered by the petitioner and his relatives.

The bench heard a petition of one Rakesh Kumar who was taken into custody on August 23, 2020 by Sub Inspector, SI Kuldeep of Maurya Enclave police station. No notice was served upon him in terms of the dicta of the Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar Vs State of Bihar. The petitioner has suffered incarceration for 11 days and presently he is out on bail.

On October 28, 2021, the court had held SI Kuldeep guilty of contempt and said that personal liberty is a natural right of every human being and the liberty of an individual cannot be trifled with. The requisite notice was not served upon the petitioner. There were mere allegations of criminal breach of trust against the petitioner, which entailed a maximum sentence of three years. It did not warrant the arrest of a person in the manner in which it was done. The petitioner’s own complaints to the police were not responded to. The highhandedness of the police officer, in specific breach of the Supreme Court’s directions is evident. Arnesh Kumar (supra) holds that in the event of non-service of notice under section 41A of the Cr.P.C., contempt proceedings would be initiated.

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. A stigma gets attached to the person who has been taken away, detained and/or put behind bars by the police. SI is deemed to have due knowledge of the rights of a citizen and the procedure prescribed in law”,

-order reads.

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The  SI filed an affidavit on December 6, 2021, tendering his unqualified/unreserved apology for arresting the petitioner on 23.08.2020. Time was granted to the respondents on 31.08.2020 to file a Status Report on or before the next date. An apology, if any, ought to be tendered in the first instance. There is no contrition in the apology of SI Kuldeep. The said apology is a matter of last resort. Therefore, the High Court did not accept the apology.

In view of the above and keeping in mind that SI Kuldeep is a serving police officer with Delhi Police, that he has served for seven years and may have a long career ahead of him, SI Kuldeep 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.

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The aforesaid sentence shall be kept in abeyance for a period of two months from receipt of the order, so as to accord SI Kuldeep sufficient opportunity to assail this order, should he so choose to, the Court ordered while disposing of the Petition.

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