Case Analysis Arnesh Kumar VS State Of Bihar & Anr. (2014) 8 Supreme Court Cases 273
Authored By- Karan Deep Singh
The present case deals with two of the most critical aspect of law and the application of law in the India. To limit the excessive use of section 498A of the IPC, 1860 by the police. Further to keep a balance between the power of police officers to arrest persons without warrant from Magistrate and the rights of the person long with the persons liberty
The basic facts about the case are that the accused person was married to his wife for a significant amount of years. The parents-in-law of the lady demand certain goods and monetary resources from the family of the bride. Later, when the accused got aware of this and supported such demand of goods and articles. Another allegation levelled against the accused and his family was that due to the refusal or non-fulfilment to pay such amounts and goods to the parents-in-law, she was later driven out of the her in-laws home.
Charges under section 498A, IPC and Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 was levelled against the accused person. The present petitioner is accused person was apprehending arrest and had filed anticipatory bail application under section 438 Cr.P.C before the Sessions Court and later the Hon’ble High Court of Patna, both the anticipatory bail applications were rejected. Thus, the present Special Leave Petition is filed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.
The present case deals with the issue of misuse of section 498A IPC and also safeguarding the rights and liberties of the accused person when the exploitation of section 498A. Whether the police is duty bound to mandatorily arrest the accused on receiving information on commission of cognizable offence or not?
The present case is a landmark judgement which was delivered by the Division Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India which not only provided for remedies on arrest under section 498A but also went on to addressing the rights of the accused person arrested for any cognizable offence punishable for up till 7 years of imprisonment.
The present appeal was allowed. The Hon’ble Supreme Court provided relief in terms of granting interim bail to the accused along with certain conditions.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court held and emphasised on the powers of the police officers to arrest without warrants from the Magistrate. The powers of police officers which are enshrined under Sections 41, 41A and 57 of the Cr.P.C. The Court again emphasised the need to create a balance between the power of police to arrest accused and maintain the liberty and freedom of the accused persons to strike a balance in the order of society. The court issued directions mandating to be followed while arrest of the accused person is to be made. The Court held that the directions needs to be complied by the police during the process of making arrest of accused persons in matters pertaining to offences which are punishable with up to 7 years of imprisonment. These directions need not necessarily apply to the cases covered under section 498A IPC but to all the offences punishable with up to 7 years of imprisonment. The Court held that no arrest to be made because police has the right to arrest since an offence committed is mere cognizable and non-bailable. There exists a power which should be exercised after providing proper justification and reasonable grounds to the accused.
While interpreting the section 498A IPC read with section 4 of the Act, the court also held the need to create a balance on the exercise of power of police officers to arrest. This section is crucial safeguard the interests of young married women from any harassment but due to the unchecked and excessive use of this section has led to various arrests on the mere apprehension and the complaints of the accused persons and further harass the accused family to cause mental agony. The court directed that no arrests shall be made without conducting proper inquiry to reach a proper stage of reasonable satisfaction from the investigation to conclude the necessity to arrest the accused.
The Apex Court has clearly stated that the police officers shall only arrest the accused person only if there are reasons to satisfy the commission of the offence by the accused which is based upon relevant facts and information which is derived from conducting a basic inquiry or investigation into the matter. Furthermore, the police officers shall have to abide and follow all the provisions of the Section 41 Cr.P.C. before making an arrest. Even if a non-cognizable offence is committed, the police shall issue a notice of appearance to the accused and not arrest the accused prior to issuing any notice. If the accused appears before the police officers and comply to such notice, then there is no reasonable and probable ground to arrest the accused person. The accused person in such situation can only be arrested only in necessary circumstances after the police records their reasons to do so. The Court also held that if the police seeks to remand the accused for longer duration, the police has to first satisfy the Magistrate from the facts and investigation that further detention is necessary. The Magistrate further is mandatorily required not act as a mouth piece of police and consider the material evidence presented before the Magistrate.
The Apex Court further said that if the provisions of Section 41 Cr.P.C. are exercised to the truest of sense by the police, then the number of bail applications and anticipatory bail applications before Magistrate and Appellate Courts will reduce drastically. This will further ensure that the police is maintaining social order while protecting the liberty of the individuals.
The directions issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court as follows:
Before moving forward, it is apposite to mention that the need for existence of such guidelines. The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that on various instances the arrests made by the police or investigating agency were unnecessary or unjustified. Also, it was state that 43.2% of the State expenditure in jails was over such prisoners only who need not have been arrested at the first instance.
It is pertinent to mention that the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India held that each and every police officer is duty bound to follow and act in accordance with the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, if the police officers fail to do this duty, then they shall be punishable under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 along with other penal consequences under the law.
While following the present judgement in Rini Johar v. the State of Madhya Pradesh, the Division Bench of Hon’ble Supreme Court and observed that the police officers making arrests of any accused persons did not follow and abide the guidelines laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the above case. The arrest was held illegal and violating the liberty of the accused persons and ordered compensation in the favour of the petitioners.
In the case of Subash Kashinath Mahajan vs State of Maharashtra, the Hon’ble Supreme Court relied on the Arnesh Kumar judgement to uphold the banning of pre-arrest bail under the SC/ST Act provided if the accused person is arrested by the police officers while following and abiding by the guidelines of the Arnesh Kumar judgement so that the liberty of the person is not curtailed by the police.
In the case of Social Action Forum v. the Union of India & Ors., the Hon’ble Supreme Court emphasised upon the Arnesh Kumar guidelines and the manner of arrests to be made while keeping the social order and maintaining the liberty of the accused persons.
Not long ago, in matter of In Re : Contagion of COVID-19 Virus in Prisons, the Hon’ble Supreme Court relied upon the guidelines of the Arnesh Kumar judgement in terms of creating more strict limits in making arrests of the accused and mandating strict compliance of the guidelines, in order to limit the overcrowding of the prisons due to the sudden rise in cases during the Second Wave of pandemic. The Court ordered more stricter directions to decrease the overburden on prisons.
The Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka imposed a substantial amount of fine on the State and order departmental inquiry against police officers who did not follow the guidelines while making an arrest and infringing the rights and personal liberty of the petitioner. The Hon’ble Court also direct to conduct enquiry against the concerned Magistrate for violation of the Arnesh Kumar judgement.
The Division Bench of the Hon’ble High Court of Andhra Pradesh, at Amaravat, held that it is the duty of the Magistrate to apply their legal mind in an objective manner in order to obtain the accurate facts of the matter and give a reasoned order while exercising powers under Section 167, CrPC. Further, to examine where the investigating officer followed the guidelines in Arnesh Kumar judgement and the duties under Section 41(1)(a), only after the satisfaction of both the points, the Magistrate shall order the extension of detention order.
In the matter of Rakesh Kumar vs Vijayanta Arya (DCP) & Ors., the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi held that the police officer guilty of contempt of court who failed to abide by the guidelines in Arnesh Kumar and provisions of Section 41 Cr.P.C., was sentenced to imprisonment for one day.
The judiciary has always been playing a crucial role in actively protecting the fundamental rights of the citizens and arrested or detained persons. It can be observed from the case wherein the Hon’ble High Court of Telangana ordered the imprisonment of IPS officer along with other police officers when it found that the police did not follow the guidelines of Arbesh Kumar judgement and procedure under Section 41(1)(a), while issuing the circular against the accused petitioner.
Recently, in the matter of Re vs Sh. Chandan Kumar, Investigating Officer, the Hon’ble Allahabad High Court observed that the investigating officer sered the notice under Section 41A to the accused but recorded in the General Diary, that the accused person had declined to accept the terms of the notice and arrest was made on the apprehension of communal tensions without registration of FIR. The Hon’ble Court in order to preserve the public interest and confidence in the judicial proceedings held that the IO had deliberately bypassed the guidelines set by the Arnesh Kumar Judgement and ordered to undergo imprisonment and imposed fine to commit contempt.
The guidelines established in the Arnesh Kumar judgement has been followed and relied upon in innumerable judgements of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and put forth the judicial activism of the Hon’ble High Courts and Sessions Courts throughout the India to ensure its unerring compliance. This landmark judgement ensures mandatory safeguards upon the fundamental rights of the persons and limits the exercise of power of police to arrest persons while upholding the liberty of the persons. The guidelines are necessary in the interest of justice and to prevent any infringement upon the trust of general public over judicial proceedings, and the authorities abusing their powers shall be penalised to avert any repetition of unlawful arrests and restore the belief of public the long standing rule of law.
Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar (2014) 8 SCC 469.
 Som Mittal v. State of Karnataka, Appeal (Crl.) 206 of 2008.
 Third Report of the National Police Commission, 1980.
 Citizens For Democracy vs State Of Assam & Ors., Writ Petition (Civil) No. 22 of 1995.
 (2016) 11 SCC 703.
 (2018) 6 SCC 454.
 (2018) 10 SCC 443.
 I.A. No. 55273 and 55276 of 2021 in Suo Motu Writ Petition (Civil) No. 01/2020.
 SRI. JAIKANTH S. vs STATE OF KARNATAKA, CRIMINAL PETITION No.4306 OF 2019.
 Bollineni Rajagopal Naidu vs State of Andhra Pradesh, WRIT PETITION (PIL) No. 132 of 2021.
 CONT. CAS(C) 480/2020 & CM APPL. 25054/2020.
 Jakka Vinod Kumar Reddy vs Mr. A.R. Srinivas, Deputy Commissioner of Police, West Zone, CONTEMPT CASE No. 826 of 2021.
 CONTEMPT APPLICATION (CRIMINAL) No. 5 of 2022.