Delhi HC sentences sub-inspector to 1-day jail for violating arrest rules


New Delhi: In a first of its kind, the Delhi high court has sentenced a sub-inspector (SI) of the Delhi police to one day imprisonment for not giving proper notice to man before arresting him.

The court said that “arrest and incarceration destroys a person and collaterally affects many other innocent relatives”.

On December 7, 2021, Justice Najmi Waziri, while holding SI Kuldeep of Maurya enclave police station guilty of contempt, said that it is not only the petitioner, Rakesh Kumar, who had suffered the humiliation and the indignity of being arrested but the ordeal would have affected the reputation of his family i.e. his children, wife and parents.

The court, however, said that the sentence would stay in abeyance for two months so as to accord sufficient opportunity to the SI to challenge the order, in case he wanted to challenge it.

The judge also imposed a fine of 2000 on the SI and said that 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.

“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. R-3 (SI) is deemed to have due knowledge of the rights of a citizen and the procedure prescribed in law,” the court said in its order.

The court said that by not giving proper intimation to the petitioner, law has been breached and his personal liberty has been curtailed.

“..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 2,000/-, as well as nominal costs of 15,000 for these proceedings, to be paid by him to the petitioner within four weeks,” the court said in the order which was released late Monday evening.

The order comes on the plea by Rakesh Kumar, who through his counsel Ajay Kumar Pipaniya, had moved a contempt petition in the high court against the violation of the rules of arrest laid down in the Arnesh Kumar judgment of the Supreme Court.

Pipaniya had contended that his client’s was not given any intimation or not served a notice under section 41A by the police for his presence before arresting him on August 23, 2020.

On October 28, 2o21, 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.

“It can be curtailed by the State only through the procedure prescribed by law. The police officer has acted in clear breach of the constitutional guarantee and the specific orders of the Supreme Court. R-3 is therefore guilty of having committed contempt of court,” the judge had said.

The court had also said that ordinarily, while the notice is required to be served personally upon the noticee, it could well have been pasted on the door of the house of the notice, additionally, the notice can be sent through speed post.

“Neither of the procedure was adopted by R-3. Admittedly, the so called ‘intimation’ through Whatsapp was not in the aforesaid format. Therefore, the intimation cannot be treated as a notice under Section 41A of the Cr.P.C or of it having been served, as per the procedure laid down. Certainly, the IO (R-3) is in breach of the prescribed procedure as well as the Supreme Court’s direction in Arnesh Kumar,” the judge had said while asking the police inspector to be present in the court.

The court, in its order of December 7, ordered the SI to give 15000 to the petitioner on account of the legal expenses. The court noted that on mere allegations of criminal breach.

It also noted that the SI arrested the petitioner in breach of directions passed by the Supreme Court and the requisite notice was not served upon the petitioner. The judge said that there were mere allegations of criminal breach of trustagainst the petitioner, which entailed a maximum sentence of three years and 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,” the court said.

The judge also refused to accept the apology of the SI saying that there is no “contrition” in the apology by the SI. And it is a matter of last resort.

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