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Delay In Producing Accused Arrested Through PT Warrant Before Court Is Violative Of His Fundamental Right Under Article 21: Madras High Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
9 Jan 2021 6:39 AM GMT
Delay In Producing Accused Arrested Through PT Warrant Before Court Is Violative Of His Fundamental Right Under Article 21: Madras High Court
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The Madras High Court has observed that the delay in producing the accused person before the Court after a formal arrest through a Prisoner on Transit warrant, would violate the liberty guaranteed to him under Article 21 of Constitution of India.In this case, the accused who was was formally arrested through a P.T. warrant was produced before the Magistrate Court after an inordinate delay....

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The Madras High Court has observed that the delay in producing the accused person before the Court after a formal arrest through a Prisoner on Transit warrant, would violate the liberty guaranteed to him under Article 21 of Constitution of India.

In this case, the accused who was was formally arrested through a P.T. warrant was produced before the Magistrate Court after an inordinate delay. The Magistrate did not take into consideration this inordinate delay and remanded the accused from the date of his production.  The issue considered by the High Court in a petition filed by the accused was whether the delay caused by the Police in producing the accused before the Court below after formally arresting him through a P.T. warrant, will vitiate the remand order passed by the Court below?

The court observed that the purpose of a P.T. warrant is only to direct the production of a person confined or detained in a prison through a lawful order and such a warrant cannot be interpreted to mean that the same will authorize the Police to curtail the liberty of a person by keeping the accused person in custody till he is produced before the concerned Court. Justice N. Anand Venkatesh observed:

"Where the investigating officer decides to arrest the accused person through a formal arrest, the accused person does not come into the physical custody of the police and for the purpose of calculating the period of 60 days or 90 days as contemplated under the proviso to Section 167(2) of Cr.P.C., it can be computed only from the date of detention as per the orders of the Magistrate and not from the date of formal arrest by the Police. A P.T. Warrant cannot be used for the purpose of keeping a person in detention without producing him before the concerned Court and such non-production will certainly curtail the liberty of a person. If an accused person is produced before the Court with an inordinate delay and thereafter if he is remanded to judicial custody, the custody of the accused person in the concerned case will be calculated only from the date of his remand and the period prior to it where he was kept under detention on the strength of the P.T. warrant, will not be taken into consideration. Such a practice has been deprecated by this Court and such delay in producing the accused person before the Court after a formal arrest through a P.T. warrant, will certainly violate the liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of Constitution of India."

The court also criticized the police for by adopting a skewed practice have defeated the right of the petitioner and thereby the liberty of the petitioner was directly violated. The judge said:

This practice must be immediately stopped by the Police and even in case where a person is involved in serious offences, the correct procedure has to be adopted scrupulously. The procedure that has been provided under the Code of Criminal Procedure is common to both lighter offences and serious offences and hence irrespective of the nature of offence, the police is expected to follow the correct procedure failing which it will result in the violation of the fundamental right guaranteed under   Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Observing thus, the bench proceeded to grant bail to the accused by imposing certain conditions.

Case: M.Kishore vs. Inspector of Police [Crl.O.P.Nos.18040 and 14411 of 2020]
Coram: Justice N. Anand Venkatesh 
Counsel: Advocates S.Suriyakala, B.Thiyagarajan Govt. Adv C.Raghavan

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