Magistrates can’t issue arrest warrants in routine, rules HC - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Friday, November 29, 2019

Magistrates can’t issue arrest warrants in routine, rules HC

Magistrates can’t issue arrest warrants in routine, rules HC

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28

In a judgment that will change the way accused are arrested by the police, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that a magistrate cannot in a routine manner invoke power to issue warrants of arrest of an accused on an application moved by a police officer. The magistrate has to exercise his discretion in a judicial manner.

Justice Rajbir Sehrawat ruled the issuance of warrant of arrest by a magistrate only on assertion of the police that an accused was evading arrest would only be a routine exercise unless a specific obstacle prevented the police from carrying out the arrest, which could not be removed by them on their own without the aid of the warrant. “It would be only for the aid of the investigating officer, which could not be done by the magistrate, as has been held by the Supreme Court in the case of Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar,” Justice Sehrawat ruled.

Referring to a Supreme Court judgment, Justice Sehrawat asserted that it was unequivocally held that a police officer was required to record reasons regarding his satisfaction on the necessity to arrest a person before proceeding against him on the allegations of committing a cognisable and non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment up to seven years.

As a necessary corollary, it would mean that the arrest of a person from the very inception may be rendered invalid, inviting adverse legal consequences even for the police officer concerned, if the conditions mentioned in the provisions of the CrPC were not complied with.

Justice Sehrawat asserted that the court more often than not found that the police were using the magistrate’s power to issue warrant of arrest against an accused only as a tool to avoid their responsibility to carry out investigation to its logical end and for getting such an accused declared a proclaimed offender.

This was also done to avoid arresting an accused in inconvenient cases or inconvenient circumstances. As a result, “lots of persons are got declared proclaimed offenders and forgotten altogether by the police thereafter”.

Justice Sehrawat added: “Hence, this court is also of the view that before the magistrate/court has taken cognisance of any offence, the power of issuance of warrants of arrest under any provision of the CrPC on an application of a police officer cannot be invoked by the magistrate as a routine matter.”

The ruling came on a petition by Gurjeet Singh Johar. Among other things, he was seeking the quashing of warrants of arrest. Quashing the impugned warrants of arrest and consequent orders impugned in the petition, Justice Sehrawat directed the forwarding of the order to all magistrates and courts exercising criminal jurisdiction in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

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