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Delhi High Court Issues Guidelines For Declaring Persons As Proclaimed Offenders & Their Early Apprehension,

Nupur Thapliyal
1 July 2021 12:44 PM GMT
Delhi High Court Issues Guidelines For Declaring Persons As Proclaimed Offenders & Their Early Apprehension,
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The Delhi High Court has issued detailed guidelines to be followed while declaring a person as a Proclaimed Offender so as to ensure that the process under sec. 82 and 83 of CrPC is not issued in a routine manner and due process of law is followed.The directions also state detailed mechanism for early apprehension of such proclaimed offenders including a direction that a Digital...

The Delhi High Court has issued detailed guidelines to be followed while declaring a person as a Proclaimed Offender so as to ensure that the process under sec. 82 and 83 of CrPC is not issued in a routine manner and due process of law is followed.

The directions also state detailed mechanism for early apprehension of such proclaimed offenders including a direction that a Digital Surveillance System shall be placed by the Delhi Police by giving access to specific departments for tracking such proclaimed offenders.

A single judge bench comprising of Justice JR Midha set out detailed guidelines after observing thus:

"This Court is of the view that declaring a person as a Proclaimed Offender leads to a serious offence under Section 174A IPC which is punishable for a period upto 3 or 7 years. It affects the life and liberty of a person under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and it is necessary to ensure that the process under Sections 82 and 83 CrPC is not issued in a routine manner and due process of law is followed."

Furthermore, it said:

"The second important aspect is that once a person has been declared as a Proclaimed offender, it is the duty of the State to make all reasonable efforts to arrest him and attach his properties as well as launch prosecution under Section 174A IPC."

Guidelines for Warrants of Arrest at Investigation Stage

It has been directed that the Investigating Officer may apply to a Magistrate for issuance of warrant of arrest where the offence is cognizable, non-bailable and the accused/suspect is evading his arrest.

Moreover, Investigating Officer shall show that the accused is ordinarily residing at or was very recently residing at some address verified by the Investigating Officer and that the accused is not available at that address due to his deliberate intention to avoid the arrest.

"No warrant shall be issued against an accused merely on the ground that he is not available to the Investigating Officer/Police for joining the investigation." It has been stated.

Guidelines for Warrants of Arrest at Trial Stage

It has been directed that mere non-appearance of accused without any justified reasons is sufficient justification for issuance of warrants of arrest including NBW by the Court.

"If any authorized person is present before the Court on behalf of any accused and moves an application to show the reasons for non-appearance of the accused, the Court shall decide the application in accordance with the law." The Court has directed.

Furthermore, the Court has directed that the Investigating Officer shall ensure the verification of the address of the accused before or after his arrest or while seeking his arrest warrants from the Court.

It is also mandatory for the accused to share names of at least three blood relatives with their details like address and contact numbers and the nature of the relation at the time of arrest.

The judgement also set out detailed guidelines for conditions to be imposed at the time of granting bail, for issuance of proclamation and for enhancing the efficiency in execution of proclamations.

Guidelines for Early apprehension of Proclaimed Offenders/Proclaimed Persons

Observing that there is a need for accurate recording of certain identifier details of accused and suspects, especially in crimes of higher gravity, the Court has directed has laid down the following guidelines:

- The names, addresses and pictures of the Proclaimed Persons/Offenders be made public on different government websites i.e. Delhi Police, NCRB, CBI and other States Police. 

- The data of the Proclaimed Persons/Offenders in cases involving the Delhi Police, as is already available on ZIPNET, should be made accessible to the public. Details of Proclaimed Persons/Offenders be also published on the website of the District Courts.

- Availability of a publicly accessible database on Proclaimed Persons/Offenders which can be easily checked and searched by the general public can be very useful in eliciting public cooperation in receiving critical timely information on Proclaimed Persons/Offenders.

- The "Digital Police Portal" launched by MHA in 2018 is connecting all CCTNS based services as well as different Apps for police are available on this single central portal. The existing database may be made more easily accessible and provisions for public to give critical inputs or tip-offs using the digital platform may be considered. 

- Further the database may be made available to Financial Intelligence Unit to develop suitable Red Flag Indicators to track financial transactions by Proclaimed offenders and provide Suspicious Transaction Reports that may help identify Proclaimed Persons/Offenders.

- Delhi Police shall put in place a Digital Surveillance System whereby it shall be given a "See only" access to all Digital Data of the following departments to track the Proclaimed Persons/Offenders.

- The Investigating Agency through the INTERPOL Liaison Officer contact National Central Bureau-New Delhi, CBI requesting issue of suitable INTERPOL Notice through IPSG for locating or tracing the Proclaimed Person/Offender abroad.

- The Ministry of External Affairs shall not issue passport facilities to the absconding accused. The passport of such accused should be revoked under Sections 6 and 10 of the Passport Act, 1967.

"Delhi Police as well as CBI shall create a Special Cell for tracing out the Proclaimed Persons/Offenders; for attaching their movable/immovable properties and for their prosecution. Delhi Police as well as CBI are at liberty to have a consolidated Special Cell. This Special Cell be created within a period of four week."  The Court has directed.

Furthermore, the Court has constituted a 10 member High Powered Committee to supervise the implementation of Guidelines which includes the following members:

(i) Joint Secretary to be nominated by the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs.

(ii) Principal Secretary (Law), Department of Law, Justice & Legislative Affairs, Goverment of NCT Delhi.

(iii) Special Commissioner of Delhi Police to be nominated by Commissioner of Police.

(iv) Additional Director of CBI to be nominated by Director, CBI.

(v) Joint Director (CCTNS) to be nominated by Director General of Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D).

(vi) Mr. Surinder S. Rathi, Officer of DHJS presently posted as Registrar and OSD to Hon‟ble the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, as a Convenor.

(vii) Mr. Kanwal Jeet Arora, Officer of DHJS presently posted as Member Secretary, DSLSA.

(viii) Mr. Shashikant Sharma, HOD, Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS), NIC.

(ix) Mr. Nikhil Goel, Standing Counsel for CBI.

(x) Mr. Sanjay Lao, Standing Counsel for Delhi Police.

The Court has directed that the Committee shall convene the first meeting within four weeks and shall, after hearing the Delhi Police and CBI, decide which Guidelines can be implemented immediately. 

"The Committee shall thereafter meet at least once a month for implementation of the remaining guidelines in a phased manner. The Committee shall ensure that all the Guidelines are implemented in a phased manner within a period of eight months to one year." The Court has said.

Title: SUNIL TYAGI v. GOVT OF NCT OF DELHI & ANR

Click Here To Read Judgment

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