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Report No. 152

5.13. Law Commission Report.-

We would like to specifically mention at this place that the Law Commission of India, in its 135th Report on Women in Custody, (1989) recommended detailed provisions to avoid harassment to women in custody and to protect them to the extent possible. The Commission, for this purpose, recommended the insertion of a specific and separate Chapter in the Code of Criminal Procedure, so that the concerned officers, as well as women's organisations and women in custody and their relatives, can without much effort, discover and inform themselves of the rights of such women and the obligations of various officers.

A draft of the proposed separate Chapter relating to arrest, interrogation and custody of women etc. was attached to the Report. At the present stage, it may be sufficient to mention only those recommendations which are related to arrest and interrogation. These are as under:-

(1) In the event of a woman being required to be arrested, the police officer concerned shall not actually touch the person of the woman and may presume her submission to custody. This recommendation is being made in order that the dignity of the concerned woman is maintained.

(2) Ordinarily, no woman shall be arrested after sunset and before sunrise. In exceptional cases calling for arrest during these hours,-

(i) prior permission of the immediate, super of officer shall be obtained, or

(ii) if the case is of extreme urgency, then, after arrest, a report with reasons shall be made to the immediate superior officer and to the Magistrate.

(3) Wherever a woman is medically examined, the examination shall be conducted only under the supervision of a female medical practitioner, with strict regard to decency.

(4) The concerned woman shall be informed about her right to be medically examined, "in order to bring on record any facts which may show that an offence against her has been committed after her arrest".

(5) A copy of the report of the medical examination shall be furnished to the woman.

(6) A woman shall not, under section 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code, be required to attend for interrogation at any place other than her dwelling house, and section 160 of the Code should be amended for the purpose.

(7) When the statement of a woman is recorded during investigation, as relative or friend of the woman or an authorised representative of an organisation interested in the welfare of women shall be allowed to remain present.

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