Case study: Joginder Kumar vs State Of Uttar Pradesh [(1994) 4 SCC 260]

The case of Joginder Kumar v. State of Uttar Pradesh set standard grounds for arresting any person; the Apex Court set rules for arrest after the trial of this case, therefore, this case is known as the ‘guidelines for arrest case’. The case dealt with ‘Rights of individuals v. Protection of society’ due to the increment of crime rates and indiscriminate arrests over the years, therefore, the Hon’ble Supreme Court decided on creating equilibrium between the two.

Brief Facts of the case
A petition under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution was filed in the case of Joginder Kumar v. State of UP, where the petitioner i.e. Joginder Kumar, who was a 28-year old lawyer, was summoned for inquiries to the office of Senior Superintendent of Police [SSP], Ghaziabad. Joginder Kumar was accompanied by his brother along with friends, who were further informed that the petitioner would be released from custody by that evening. Whereas, the petitioner himself was told with the assurance that he shall be released on the next day.

However, the Police did not release Joginder Kumar on the next day, stating that they wanted the petitioners’ help with further inquiries. On the third day, his family was informed that Joginder Kumar had been taken away to an undisclosed location. In effect, Joginder Kumar was illegally detained over a period of five days. The petitioners’ family filed a petition of habeas corpus in the Hon’ble Supreme Court, in order to find out Joginder Kumar’s’ whereabouts.

In furtherance of which the Supreme Court issued notices to both, the Government of Uttar Pradesh as well as the Senior Superintendent of Police to instantly produce the petitioner and provide the court with answers regarding the detainment of Joginder Kumar for up to five days, without any valid reasons and as to why the Police had not mentioned the detention of the same in the station diary, and if so, why was the petitioner not produced before the Magistrate.

Judgment

In the case of Joginder Kumar v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that “No arrest can be made because it is lawful for the Police Officer to do so. The existence of the power to arrest is one thing. The justification for the exercise of it is quite another. The Police Officer must be able to justify the arrest apart from his power to do so. Arrest and detention in police lock-up of a person can cause incalculable harm to the reputation and self-esteem of a person. No arrest can be made in a routine manner on a mere allegation of commission of an offence made against a person. It would be prudent for a Police Officer in the interest of protection of the constitutional rights of a citizen and perhaps in his own interest that no arrest should be made without a reasonable satisfaction reached after some investigation as to the genuineness and bonafides of a complaint and a reasonable belief both as to the person’s complicity and even so as to the need to effect arrest. Denying a person of his liberty is a serious matter. The recommendations of the Police Commission merely reflect the constitutional concomitants of the fundamental right to personal liberty and freedom. A person is not liable to arrest merely on the suspicion of complicity in an offence. There must be some reasonable justification in the opinion of the Officer effecting the arrest that such arrest is necessary and justified. Except in heinous offences, an arrest must be avoided if a police officer issues notice to a person to attend the Station House and not to leave Station without permission would do.”

It was further observed by the court that according to English laws, an arrested person holds rights to inform someone about his arrest, upon request and also has the right to consult with a lawyer of his choice. The apex court stated that these rights provided to an arrested person vested in Articles 21 and 22(1) of the Indian Constitution and are required to be acknowledged and safeguarded. Thereafter, it was held by the apex court that “There is a right to have someone informed. That right of the arrested person, upon request, to have someone informed and to consult privately with a lawyer was recognised by Section 56(1) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 in England. These rights are inherent in Articles 21 and 22(1) of the Constitution and require to be recognised and scrupulously protected. For effective enforcement of these fundamental rights, we issue the following requirements: 1) an arrested person being held in custody is entitled, if he so requests to have one friend, relative or other person who is known to him or likely to take an interest in his welfare told as far as is practicable that he has been arrested and where is being detained. 2) The Police Officer shall inform the arrested person when he is brought to the police station of this right. 3) An entry shall be required to be made in the Diary as to who was informed of the arrest. These protections from power must be held to flow from Articles 21 and 22(1) and enforced strictly. It shall be the duty of the Magistrate, before whom the arrested person is produced, to satisfy himself that these requirements have complied with the above requirements shall be followed in all cases of arrest till legal provisions are made in this behalf. These requirements shall be in addition to the right of the arrested persons found in the various police manuals.”

Therefore, the Constitution of India provides certain rights to an arrested person, as a prerequisite to the Fundamental Rights provided to every citizen of the country. Article 21 and 22 establish the righteousness an arrested person holds in order to protect himself from any illegal action against him in the process of arrest. Furthermore, the guidelines laid down in the case of Joginder Kumar v. State of UP, were made mandatory for the Police to follow in case of arrest to avoid dysfunctional activities on behalf of the administrative authorities and bring uniformity in the criminal procedure.

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