Acting in compliance to the directions of the Supreme Court, the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has issued a set of comprehensive guidelines pertaining to arrest, detention, and bail procedures. The Supreme Court directions were passed in the case of Md. Asfak Alam versus State of Jharkhand.
A notification to this effect was issued by Registrar General stating that the directions contained in the Supreme Court would provide the guidelines on arrest, detention and bail of accused, for the guidance of Magistrates and the Criminal Courts subordinate to the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.”
Under these guidelines, police officers have been instructed not to automatically arrest individuals under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, but to carefully evaluate the necessity for arrest based on the parameters outlined in Section 41 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
A detailed checklist has been provided to all police officers, ensuring that the decision to arrest is made after thorough consideration of the provided criteria, the notification said.
The guidelines also lay down that police officers shall forward the check list dully filled and furnish the reasons and materials which necessitated the arrest, while forwarding/producing the accused before the Magistrate for further detention. The Magistrate, in turn, must review the report and satisfy themselves before authorizing further detention, the notification states.
The decision not to arrest an accused must be forwarded to the Magistrate within this period, along with a copy, and any extension of this deadline must be supported by valid reasons recorded in writing by the Superintendent of Police of the district, the notification further specified.
“Additionally, notice of appearance in terms of Section 41-A of the CrPC must be served on the accused within two weeks from the date of the institution of the case. The Superintendent of Police of the district may extend this deadline, provided valid reasons are documented in writing, the notification mandates,” it further added.
“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 to be instituted before High Court,” the notification warns.
It adds, “Authorizing detention without recording reasons as aforesaid by the Judicial Magistrate concerned shall be liable for departmental action by the High Court”.
The notification also clarified that these guidelines are not limited to cases under Section 498- A IPC or Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act but extend to all cases where the offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term ranging from less than seven years to up to seven years, with or without a fine.