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There exists dichotomy between standard guidelines on effecting arrest and their actual implementation by police on ground, according to a report of the Delhi High Court Registry. Highlighting the contrasting situation, the report of Delhi High Court Registrar General Dinesh Kumar Sharma stressed the need to train and sensitise the police on proper implementation of standard norms on arresting accused in criminal cases. The report said that a person cannot be arrested without a warrant, especially in family dispute cases, and this aspect is usually overlooked. The report was filed in pursuance of a direction of a bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar in a case. The bench was hearing a plea alleging absence of guidelines relating to arrest and summoning of a person to a police station. Concerned over alleged harassment and threat of arrest by police, the Registrar General held a meeting with stakeholders and found that the guidelines on arrest were not being implemented properly. "It is evident that guidelines regarding arrest and how police officials must proceed with their investigation already exist.
However, there appears to be a dichotomy between the said guidelines and the manner in which the true essence of the guidelines are required to be realised," the report said. The judicial officer had laid stress on the modes of practice to be followed while arresting someone by the police officers, who should issue a notice directing the person, against whom a reasonable complaint has been made, to appear before them. He said that issuance of notice is in line with the right to life and liberty of the citizens and would help to bring down the numbers of arrest, which in turn would de-congest the crowded Indian jails. "Simultaneously, the innocent too can feel secure in case they stand any chance of exposure to implication in a fake case," the 50-page report said. The report further said that the police across the country need to place more emphasis on the manner in which guidelines should be implemented so that the said directions are actually beneficial for the state functionaries and the public at large. "Application of directives in a mechanical manner without understanding their true import and the reasons for their conception are rendering the said directions nugatory," it added. The report said that even a magistrate while authorising further detention of an accused should satisfy that the arrest made was legal and in accordance with law. "The conclusions arrived at by a police officer, while effecting arrest, need to necessarily be considered by the magistrate while authorising detention and only after recording his satisfaction a magistrate can authorise detention," the report suggested. The court is hearing a petition, moved through advocate Nikhil Borwankar, who has sought a direction to the police to refrain from arbitrarily summoning any person to the police station over telephone unless exigent circumstances exist, which should be recorded by the officer in writing. The plea also sought a direction to the agency to frame rules and time-frame regarding an inquiry into allegations against an investigating officer in an extant probe. Agreeing with the petitioner's concern, the status report suggested that police stations should mandatorily have a functional CCTV cameras at the entry and exit gate of the police stations, which should be preserved for four months, to ensure transparency. It said the training programmes be specially formulated for police officers and judicial officers to sensitise them towards effective compliance of the Criminal Procedure Code. "Directions should be issued to the DGP/SP/Commissioner/ Deputy Commissioner of the police concerned in the Union Territory of Delhi to prepare a circular, providing instructions to all police officials in relation to procedure to be followed while issuing notices under...," the report said. It also said that an attempt has been made through these recommendations to enhance transparency and responsibility in the police system, during the process of investigation and ensuring the attendance of a suspect or accused during the probe. The court has fixed the matter for further hearing on November 23.
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