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6 grounds for the police to shoot

However, Article 21 says that no person can be deprived of his or her life without the due process of law being followed
People throw flower petals on the Indian policemen guarding the area where rape accused were shot, in Shadnagar some 50 kilometers or 31 miles from Hyderabad, on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.

R. Balaji   |   New Delhi   |   Published 06.12.19, 09:03 PM

Indian laws do empower police personnel and civilians to kill another person, provided the right to self-defence is involved.

However, Article 21 of the Constitution says that no person can be deprived of his or her life without the due process of law being followed.

Section 46 in the Code of Criminal Procedure, while explaining how an arrest may be executed, says: “If such a person forcibly resists the endeavour to arrest him, or attempts to evade the arrest, such police officer or other person may use all means necessary to effect the arrest.”

Sub-clause 3 of Section 46 further says: “Nothing in this section gives a right to cause the death of a person who is not accused of an offence punishable with death or with imprisonment for life.”

Section 100 in the Indian Penal Code, which comes to the aid of both personnel and civilians, says a person can kill another person in self-defence under six different situations listed below.

  • An assault as may reasonably cause the apprehension that death will otherwise be the consequence.
  • An assault as may reasonably cause the apprehension that grievous hurt will otherwise be the consequence.
  • An assault with the intention of committing rape.
  • An assault with the intention of gratifying unnatural lust.
  • An assault with the intention of kidnapping or abducting.
  • An assault with the intention of wrongfully confining a person, under circumstances which may reasonably cause him to apprehend that he will be unable to have recourse to the public authorities for his release.

The National Crime Records Bureau, under the title “Persons Killed Or Injured in Police Firing During 2013 (Event-Wise)”, shows that there were 684 occasions of police firing in the year. They were classified as “riot control”, “anti-dacoity operations”, “against extremists and terrorists” and “against others” in 2013.

In these police firings, 103 civilians were killed and 213 injured. Among policemen, 47 were killed and 1,158 injured.

Article 21 of the Constitution says “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”.

In 2014, the apex court iterated its earlier judgment that “…Article 21 confers sacred and cherished right under the Constitution which cannot be violated, except according to procedure established by law”. It added that “Article 21 guarantees personal liberty to every single person in the country which includes the right to live with human dignity”.

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