//CrPC amendment may curtail police's powers of arrest

CrPC amendment may curtail police's powers of arrest

Subodh Ghildiyal,20 Oct, 2006 TIMES NEWS NETWORK

NEW DELHI: Police powers of arbitrary arrests, a big source of abuse of authority and corruption in khaki, may shrink soon. Government is working on amendments to Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) which will reduce the scope of discretion by cops in taking a person in custody.

The proposed changes also aim at inserting safeguards to ensure the well-being of accused while in judicial custody.

Sources said the step, which they venture to call "law of arrests", is in the works and is likely to be part of next batch of changes to CrPC to follow the two promulgated by Union home ministry recently. As a senior official said, "It is to rationalise the powers of arrest of police."

The urgency for reforming police's power of arrest was stressed by National Police Commission in its third report.

Finalised two years ago, the report had estimated that nearly 60% of arrests were unnecessary or unjustified and accounted for 43.2% of expenditure of jails.

Sources said that section 41 (1) (a) of CrPC may be the focus of modification. It says that police can arrest a person without warrant if he "has been concerned in any cognisable offence or against whom a reasonable complaint has been made or credible information has been received or a reasonable suspicion exists".

While "cognisable offence" is seen as an objective ground for arrest, rest of the section of CrPC is viewed by experts as fraught with introducing subjective assessment.

Government, sources said, is likely to lay out elaborately parts of the section which give scope for arbitrary action.