The Tripura high court has cited a Supreme Court ruling of July this year and issued guidelines for cops to prevent automatic arrests under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deals with crimes against a married woman by her husband or in-laws.
According to the guidelines, investigating officers have to fill a checklist of parameters mentioned in Section 41 of CrPC before arresting an accused. Failure to comply would make the officers liable for departmental action and contempt of court.
Magistrates who authorise detention without recording the reasons shall also be liable for departmental action by the high court.
The HC’s directions are intended to ensure that police officers do not arrest accused unnecessarily in Section 498A cases and magistrates do not authorise detentions casually and mechanically.
The state government will have to instruct police officers accordingly, telling them that they must satisfy themselves about the necessity of arrests under parameters laid down in CrPC, according to the HC guidelines.
The police officer shall present the filled checklist along with the reasons andmaterials/evidence that necessitated a Section 498A arrest while producing the accused before a magistrate for further detention. The magistrate should authorise further detention only after examining the officer’s report and recording his satisfaction.
At the same time, the guidelines specify that a decision not to arrest an accused under Section 498A should be given in writing to the magistrate within two weeks from the date of the institution of the case. The district SP may extend that period but with reasons recorded in writing.
Police must serve an accused notice of appearance under Section 41 of CrPC within two weeks of the case filing date, the Tripura high court guidelines state.