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Report No. 177

1.8 Misuse of power of arrest.-

Notwithstanding the safeguards contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Constitution referred to above, the fact remains that the power of arrest is wrongly and illegally exercised in a large number of cases all over thecountry. Very often this power is utilized to extort monies and other valuable property or at the instance of an enemy of the person arrested. Even in case of civil disputes, this power is being resorted to on the basis of a false allegation against a party to a civil dispute at the instance of his opponent.

The vast discretion given by the CrPC to arrest a person even in the case of a bailable offence (not only where the bailable offence is cognizable but also where it is non-cognizable) and the further power to make preventive arrests (e.g. under section 151 of the CrPC and the several city police enactments), clothe the police with extraordinary power which can easily be abused. Neither there is any inhouse mechanism in the police department to check such misuse or abuse nor does the complaint of such misuse or abuse to higher police officers bear fruit except in some exceptional cases.

We must repeat that we are not dealing with the vast discretionary powers of a mere civil service simpliciter, we are dealing with the vast discretionary powers of the members of a service which is provided with firearms, which are becoming more and more sophisticated with each passing day (which is technically called a civil service for the purposes of Service Jurisprudence) and whose acts touch upon the liberty and freedom of the citizens of this country and not merely their entitlements and properties. This is a civil service which is being increasingly militarized, no doubt, to meet the emerging exigencies.

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