Glare on woman's late-night arrest

HC orders Dispur to pay Rs 2 lakh

By Pankaj Sarma in Guwahati
  • Published 24.09.16
Gauhati High Court

Guwahati, Sept. 23: Gauhati High Court has ordered the Assam government to pay Rs 2 lakh as compensation to a 33-year-old woman after police picked her up in the wee hours and brought her to Dispur police station in contravention of the law.

A single-judge bench of Justice Ujjal Bhuyan recently passed the order after observing that two sub-inspectors of Dispur police station - Montu Ram Borah and Arun Baruah - failed to discharge their duties lawfully and violated provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Assam police manual.

The woman, who was a manager in a private company, was arrested on November 25 last year around 1am from her residence here by the two policemen in connection with a criminal case filed against the company for retention of security amount of some vendors. She had worked there till April 8 of that year.

The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and the police manual state that no woman can be arrested after sunset and before sunrise and in no event a woman can be detained at the police station in connection with the investigation between sunset and sunrise.

There is also a Supreme Court ruling that a woman cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise. Even if there is a woman constable accompanying police officers, they cannot arrest a woman at night. In case the woman has committed a serious crime, the police require to get it in writing from the magistrate explaining why the arrest was necessary.

In this case, the two sub-inspectors had shown utter disregard to law and other procedural safeguards by arresting her at 1am and also refused to allow her mother to accompany her.

Her mobile phones were taken away and around 2am she was forced to undergo a medical examination in MMC Hospital at Panbazar. Thereafter, she was dropped at a shelter home where she spent the night with women accused of different crimes.

She was also not informed about the charges. Her mother reached Dispur police station at 6am the next day but she was not told where her daughter was. The woman was brought to the police station and released at 3.20pm after the two policemen allegedly took a bribe of Rs 10,000.

The allegation of bribe, however, could not be substantiated in the court because of lack of sufficient independent witnesses.