Explained: Were Punjab Police right in arresting BJP leader Tajinder Singh Bagga?

What is the News?

The arrest of a BJP leader by Punjab Police precipitated a crisis after the Delhi Police registered a case of kidnapping against the Punjab Police team.

Moreover, Punjab Police while transporting the BJP Leader to Punjab was detained by Haryana Police en route and questioned on the basis of a warrant that Delhi Police got issued from a city court. 

What is the procedure for making interstate arrests?

Police is a State subject and thus the jurisdiction of state police is limited to the state.

Broadly, the intent of the law has been that a criminal in a particular state must be arrested by the police of that state. However, in certain circumstances, the law does allow the police of one state to arrest an accused in another state. 

This may be done by the execution of a warrant issued by a competent court or even without a warrant — in which case the concerned state police must inform the local police about the arrest.

What does the law say about Inter-State Arrests?

The powers of the police to arrest an accused in another state have not been defined clearly as far as arresting without a warrant is concerned. Section 48 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) gives the police such powers, but the procedure is not defined.

Section 79 of the CrPC deals with inter-state arrests on the basis of warrants issued by competent courts. This section lays down detailed procedures for such arrests.

However, in both these situations, the police have an obligation to present an arrested person before a magistrate within 24 hours.

Note: Article 22(2) of the Constitution says: Every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of 24 hours of such arrest. This excludes the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate. Further, no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a magistrate.

What does the Courts say about Inter-State Arrests?

In Sandeep Kumar vs The State (Govt. Of NCT Of Delhi)’ case in 2019, the Delhi High Court issued certain guidelines for inter-state arrests. Such as,

– A police officer must seek permission from his superior, in writing or on the phone, to visit another state to arrest a criminal.

– He must also make a comprehensive departure entry in the Daily Diary of his Police Station before proceeding to another state.

– After reaching the other state, he should inform the concerned police station of the purpose of his visit to seek assistance and cooperation. 

– On arrival at his police station, the police officer must make an arrival entry in the record and indicate the investigation carried out by him. 

– The guidelines also makes an exception for “urgent cases” in which the police of a state may not inform their counterparts in the other state of an impending arrest.

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: Were Punjab Police right in arresting BJP leader Tajinder Singh Bagga?” published in Indian Express on 7th May 2022

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