No routine arrest under SC/ST Act if sentence in other sections is less than 7 years: Allahabad HC
LUCKNOW: The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has expressed displeasure over immediate arrest of the accused under The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The court observed that the police would not make any routine arrest in matters related to the Act where offences under associated sections were punishable up to maximum seven years.
Hearing a plea challenging an FIR registered under offences of IPC and SC/ST Act after the recent amendment in the Act, the court disposed of the writ petition providing that the police would not make arrest without compliance of the guidelines laid down by the apex court in the Arnesh Kumar versus State of Bihar case in 2014.
As per the SC guidelines, the investigating officer (IO) have to follow the provisions of Section 41 and 41 A of CrPC before making routine arrest in matters where offences under IPC are punishable up to maximum seven years. The IO has to ensure that the arrest was essential, otherwise the judicial magistrate would not send accused to judicial custody.
The HC is flooded with such writ petitions every day challenging FIRs registered under the SC/ST Act, or, any other acts, with maximum punishment of seven years.
In Gonda district, a Scheduled Caste woman lodged an FIR against petitioner Rajesh Mishra and three others of his family on August 19. The case against Mishra was lodged under various sections of the IPC and the SC/SC Act. But, Mishra challenged the FIR urging that it should be quashed and he should be arrested only after a proper probe.
The matter came up for hearing before a bench comprising Justices Ajai Lamba and Sanjay Harkauli. The court also directed the authorities that the accused should be served a notice for interrogation. "If he (accused) abides by the conditions of the notice, then he cannot be arrested during analysis of the complaint," said the bench.
Additional advocate general Nand Prabha Shukla assured the court that since all the offences mentioned in the FIR were punishable only up to maximum seven years, the IO would follow the SC guidelines. The bench recorded the statement of the state counsel and disposed of the petition.