The Madras High Court on Tuesday held that that a person involved in an offence in Tamil Nadu/Puducherry, but arrested in a place outside the region, shall be physically produced before a Judicial/Metropolitan Magistrate in the place of his arrest, though the said Magistrate may not have the jurisdiction.
The said Rule stipulates that No accused shall be placed under remand for the first time, unless he is produced physically. At the time of remand, the Judge/Magistrate shall see if there is any injury on the person of the accused. Any such injury shall be recorded in the remand order and the remand warrant as well. It is permissible to make extensions of remand through the medium of electronic video linkage.
In this regard, it is to be noted that Section 167(2), proviso (b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure insists on the physical production of the accused before the Magistrate at the first instance. The provision permits production via video conferencing only for subsequent extension of remands. This is to ensure that the accused is physically examined by the Magistrate at the first instance. This provision, if properly complied, acts as a safeguard against custodial violence.
In the light of COVID-19 pandemic, many Courts have diluted the mandatory requirement of physical production of accused for the purposes of first remand.
The video conferencing rules adopted by Delhi High Court state that in exceptional circumstances, judicial remand in the first instance or police remand can be granted via video conferencing for reasons recorded in writing.
The Karnataka HC has also ruled that a Magistrate can authorize the remand of an accused for the first time via video conferencing in exceptional circumstances in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, despite the bar under Section 167(2)(a) CrPC.
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