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Supreme Court Refuses To Entertain PIL Seeking Directions To Police To Follow 'Arnesh Kumar' Guidelines For Arrest

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
11 Feb 2021 12:07 PM GMT
Supreme Court Refuses To Entertain PIL Seeking Directions To Police To Follow Arnesh Kumar Guidelines For Arrest
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The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation(PIL) petition which sought directions to ensure that police strictly followed the guidelines laid down in the 'Arnesh Kumar judgment' while arresting persons.Citing a nation wide survey report, the PIL filed by law researchers Ameya Bokil and Srujana Bej stated that indiscriminate arrests carried out by police...

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The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation(PIL) petition which sought directions to ensure that police strictly followed the guidelines laid down in the 'Arnesh Kumar judgment' while arresting persons.

Citing a nation wide survey report, the PIL filed by law researchers Ameya Bokil and Srujana Bej stated that indiscriminate arrests carried out by police during the lockdown period ignoring the 'Arnesh Kumar' judgment led to high increase of undertrial population in prisons, nullifying the efforts taken by the Supreme Court and High Powered Committees of States to reduce prison density amid COVID-19 pandemic by grant of emergency parole or interim bail.

When the matter was taken up on Thursday, a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde told the petitioners' counsel Senior Advocate Dr Colin Gonsalves that the prayers in the writ petition were broad and general.

Dr Gonsalves, referring to the national survey report, submitted that the petition raised specific instances of violations. Police put persons in jail for petty offences during the pandemic, even though the Arnesh Kumar judgment held that arrest should be exceptional in cases where the punishment is less than seven years imprisonment, the senior counsel submitted.

"If the arrests are in violation are of that order(Arnesh Kumar), you file contempt", the CJI suggested.

Although Dr Gonsalves sought to persuade the bench by saying that the petition highlighted specific instances, the bench was not inclined to entertain the matter.

"You file a case with concrete facts", the bench told the senior lawyer, suggesting that the petition should be withdrawn.

Accordingly, the petition was withdrawn with liberty to file a fresh petition.

The plea had stated :

"The national average prison occupancy rate was 18.5% as of 31 December 2019 according to the National Crime Records Bureau Prison Statistics India 2019 Report. According to the same report several States and territories have had a glaring occupancy rate including Delhi (174.9%), Uttar Pradesh (167.9), Uttarakhand (159%), Meghalaya (157.4%), Madhya Pradesh (155.3%), Sikkim (153.8%), Maharashtra (152.7%) and Chhattisgarh (150.1%)".

The petitioners had stated that there was a need to outline a long term strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, otherwise an ad hoc approach may lead to an atmosphere of fear and anxiety in the minds of prisoners, both incarcerated and released, and their family members.








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