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Report No. 177

1.13.4 Gujarat

In this State, a committee of eight officials headed by Addl. DGP, CID (Crime), was constituted to gather and supply the relevant information. Though the letter of the IGP, Gujarat dated 14.10.1999 states that Ahmedabad rural district, a crime prone district was selected for study, the particulars furnished through a subsequent letter dated 24.2.2000 are with respect to the entire State of Gujarat.

The total number of accused arrested during the year (1998?) is 1,13,489 out of which the persons arrested for causing hurt is 29,226, for rioting 12,823, for theft 8,364 and for house breaking by day and night (put together) 3,147. 42,150 persons were arrested under what is called themiscellaneous offences. The total number of persons arrested by way of preventive action "i.e. under sections 107, 109, 110 of CrPC and sections 56, 57, 122 & 124 of Bombay Police Act and under section 93 of the Prohibition Act" is a total of 1,89,722. In other words, the preventive arrests are far higher in number than the arrests made for committing substantive offences.

We must however refer to the letter of the Addl. DGP (CID) Crimes, GS Ahmedabad, Shri G.C. Raizar, dated 8.10.1999 in as much as it contains certain useful information and suggestions. Para 1 of the letter says that the power to arrest without warrant in cognizable offences falling under parts 1 to 5 of the IPC should continue to be available to police officers. Para 2 says that while the power of arrest is wide ranging, they have to be exercised in such a manner as to avoid unnecessary harassment to the people.

After the judgment of the Supreme Court in D.K. Basu, it is said, the abuse of the said power has drastically come down. Paras 3 & 4 state that the police should have the power to arrest without warrant where the offence is committed in their presence and also where a large quantity of stolen property, contraband goods or illicit weapons etc. are found in the custody of a person. Para 5 says that the power of arrest without warrant should be available to police only in important cases. Paras 6, 7 & 8 may be extracted in full having regard to their relevance.

"6. As mentioned above, police should not have unlimited powers of arrest but at the same time looking to the present social structure and ground realities, this may cause dissatisfaction among the public especially in view of the following reasons:

(1) If somebody commits an offence and police does not arrest him immediately, people may have their own presumption about the police credibility with regard to the effective working of the police force particularly, when the process of obtaining a warrant is not so simple and easy. It is an undisputable fact that, under the present system, obtaining of a warrant will take long time in most of the cases.

(2) Except in very serious cases, the accused person should be arrested and produced before the court only at the time of charge-sheeting the case in the Court of Law, as is being done at present by the CBI and anti-corruption agencies. (? sic.).

(3) The Committee is of the view that more and more powers are being given to the police under various social and economic laws including the power of arrest. This should also be reviewed in the light of increasing allegations of misuse of power by the law enforcement agencies.

(4) It is also felt that the unlimited power of arrest given to the police under section 151 CrPC also needs to be reviewed."

The suggestions do merit consideration.

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