• Arnesh Kumar Vs. State Of Bihar

  • Head Notes

    • Anticipatory Bail- Under Sec.- 438 Cr.P.C- During Investigation- FIR Under Sec.- 498A IPC & Sec.- 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.- No automatic arrest in the cases registered under Sec.- 498A, etc.-Judgment: Arnesh Kumar Vs. State Of Bihar & Anr., Criminal Appeal No. 1277  OF 2014, Order dated: 02.07.2014, Bench: Chandramauli Kr. Prasad & Pinaki Chandra Ghose, JJ, Supreme Court Of India, Citations:




    CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1277  OF 2014

    (@SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) No.9127 of 2013)

    ARNESH KUMAR                            ..... APPELLANT


    STATE OF BIHAR & ANR.            .... RESPONDENTS

    J U D G M E N T

    Chandramauli Kr. Prasad

    The petitioner apprehends his arrest in a case under Section 498-A  of

    the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter called as IPC)  and  Section  4  of

    the Dowry Prohibition  Act,  1961.   The  maximum  sentence  provided  under

    Section 498-A IPC is imprisonment for a  term  which  may  extend  to  three

    years and fine whereas the maximum sentence provided under Section 4 of  the

    Dowry Prohibition Act is two years and with fine.

    Petitioner happens to be the husband of respondent no.2  Sweta  Kiran.

    The marriage between them was solemnized on 1st  July, 2007. His attempt  to

    secure anticipatory bail has failed and hence he has  knocked  the  door  of

    this Court by way of this Special Leave Petition.

    Leave granted.

    In sum and substance, allegation levelled  by  the  wife  against  the

    appellant  is  that  demand  of  Rupees  eight  lacs,  a  maruti   car,   an

    air-conditioner, television set etc.  was  made  by  her  mother-in-law  and

    father-in-law and when this fact was brought to the appellant’s  notice,  he

    supported his mother and threatened to marry another  woman.   It  has  been

    alleged that she was  driven  out  of  the  matrimonial  home  due  to  non-

    fulfilment of the demand of dowry.

    Denying these allegations, the appellant preferred an application  for

    anticipatory bail which was earlier rejected by the learned  Sessions  Judge

    and thereafter by the High Court.

    There is phenomenal increase in matrimonial disputes in recent  years.

    The institution of marriage is greatly revered in  this  country.   Section

    498-A of the IPC was introduced with avowed object to combat the  menace  of

    harassment to a woman at the hands of her husband and  his  relatives.   The

    fact that Section 498-A is a cognizable and non-bailable  offence  has  lent

    it a dubious place of pride amongst the provisions that are used as  weapons

    rather than shield by disgruntled wives.  The simplest way to harass  is  to

    get the husband and his relatives  arrested  under  this  provision.   In  a

    quite number of cases, bed-ridden grand-fathers  and  grand-mothers  of  the

    husbands, their sisters living abroad for decades are arrested.   “Crime  in

    India  2012   Statistics”  published  by  National  Crime  Records   Bureau,

    Ministry of Home Affairs shows arrest of 1,97,762  persons  all  over  India

    during the year 2012 for offence under Section 498-A of the IPC,  9.4%  more

    than the  year  2011.   Nearly  a  quarter  of  those  arrested  under  this

    provision in 2012 were women i.e. 47,951  which  depicts  that  mothers  and

    sisters of the husbands were liberally included in their  arrest  net.   Its

    share is 6% out of the total persons arrested  under  the  crimes  committed

    under Indian Penal Code.  It accounts for 4.5%  of  total  crimes  committed

    under  different  sections  of  penal  code,  more  than  any  other  crimes

    excepting theft and hurt.   The  rate  of  charge-sheeting  in  cases  under

    Section 498A, IPC is as high as 93.6%, while the  conviction  rate  is  only

    15%, which is lowest across all  heads.   As  many  as  3,72,706  cases  are

    pending trial of which on current estimate, nearly 3,17,000  are  likely  to

    result in acquittal.

    Arrest brings humiliation, curtails freedom and  cast  scars  forever.

    Law makers know it so also the police.  There is a battle  between  the  law

    makers and the police and it seems that police has not  learnt  its  lesson;

    the lesson implicit and embodied in the Cr.PC.  It has not come out  of  its

    colonial  image  despite  six  decades  of  independence,  it   is   largely

    considered as a tool of harassment, oppression and surely not  considered  a

    friend of public.  The need for caution in exercising the drastic  power  of

    arrest has been emphasized time and again by  Courts  but  has  not  yielded

    desired result. Power to arrest greatly  contributes  to  its  arrogance  so

    also the failure of the Magistracy to check it.  Not only  this,  the  power

    of arrest is one  of  the  lucrative  sources  of  police  corruption.   The

    attitude to arrest first and then proceed with the rest is  despicable.   It

    has become a handy tool to the police officers who lack sensitivity  or  act

    with oblique motive.

    Law Commissions, Police Commissions and this Court in a  large  number

    of judgments emphasized the need to maintain a  balance  between  individual

    liberty and societal order while exercising the power of arrest.      Police

    officers make arrest as they believe that they possess the power to  do  so.

    As the arrest curtails freedom, brings humiliation and casts scars  forever,

    we feel differently.   We  believe  that  no  arrest  should  be  made  only

    because the offence is non-bailable and cognizable  and  therefore,   lawful

    for the police officers to do so.  The existence of the power to  arrest  is

    one thing, the justification for the exercise of it is quite another.  Apart

    from power to arrest, the police  officers  must  be  able  to  justify  the

    reasons thereof.  No arrest can be made  in  a  routine  manner  on  a  mere

    allegation of commission of an offence made against a person.  It  would  be

    prudent and wise for a police officer that  no  arrest  is  made  without  a

    reasonable  satisfaction  reached  after  some  investigation  as   to   the

    genuineness of the allegation. Despite this legal position, the  Legislature

    did not find  any  improvement.   Numbers  of  arrest  have  not  decreased.

    Ultimately, the Parliament had to intervene and  on  the  recommendation  of

    the 177th Report of the Law Commission submitted in the year  2001,  Section

    41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (for  short  ‘Cr.PC),  in  the  present

    form  came  to  be  enacted.   It  is  interesting  to  note  that  such   a

    recommendation was made by the Law Commission in its 152nd and 154th  Report

    submitted as back in the  year  1994.   The  value  of  the  proportionality

    permeates the amendment relating to arrest.  As the offence  with  which  we

    are concerned in the present appeal, provides for a  maximum  punishment  of

    imprisonment which may extend to seven years  and  fine,  Section  41(1)(b),

    Cr.PC which is relevant for the purpose reads as follows:

     “41. When police may arrest without  warrant.-(1)  Any  police  officer  may

    without an order from a Magistrate and without a warrant, arrest any  person 

    (a)x         x          x         x          x      x

    (b)against  whom  a  reasonable  complaint  has  been  made,   or   credible

    information has been received, or a reasonable suspicion exists that he  has

    committed a cognizable offence  punishable  with  imprisonment  for  a  term

    which may be less than seven years  or  which  may  extend  to  seven  years

    whether with or without fine, if the  following  conditions  are  satisfied,

    namely :-

     (i)   x x x x x 

    (ii) the police officer is satisfied that such arrest is necessary –

    to prevent such person from committing any further offence; or

    for proper investigation of the offence; or

    to prevent  such  person  from  causing  the  evidence  of  the  offence  to

    disappear or tampering with such evidence in any manner; or

    to prevent such person from making any inducement, threat or promise to  any

    person acquainted with the facts of the case so  as  to  dissuade  him  from

    disclosing such facts to the Court or to the police officer; or

    as unless such person is  arrested,  his  presence  in  the  Court  whenever

    required cannot be ensured,

    and the police officer shall record while making such  arrest,  his  reasons

    in writing:

    Provided that a police officer shall, in all cases where  the  arrest  of  a

    person is not required under the provisions of this sub-section, record  the

    reasons in writing for not making the arrest.

    X           x           x         x          x           x

    From a plain reading of the  aforesaid  provision,  it  is  evident  that  a

    person accused of offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which  may

    be less than seven years or which may extend to seven years with or  without

    fine, cannot be arrested by the police  officer  only  on  its  satisfaction

    that such person had committed the offence punishable as aforesaid.   Police

    officer before arrest, in such cases has to be further satisfied  that  such

    arrest is necessary to prevent  such  person  from  committing  any  further

    offence; or for proper investigation of the case; or to prevent the  accused

    from causing the evidence of the offence to  disappear;  or  tampering  with

    such evidence in any manner; or to  prevent  such  person  from  making  any

    inducement, threat or promise to a  witness  so  as  to  dissuade  him  from

    disclosing such facts to the Court or the police  officer;  or  unless  such

    accused person is arrested, his presence  in  the  court  whenever  required

    cannot be ensured.  These are the conclusions, which one may reach based  on

    facts.  Law mandates the police officer to state the facts  and  record  the

    reasons in writing which led him to come to a conclusion covered by  any  of

    the provisions aforesaid, while making such arrest.   Law  further  requires

    the police officers to record the reasons in  writing  for  not  making  the

    arrest.  In pith and core, the  police  office  before  arrest  must  put  a

    question to himself, why arrest?  Is it really required?   What  purpose  it

    will serve?  What object it will achieve?  It is only after these  questions

    are addressed and one  or  the  other  conditions  as  enumerated  above  is

    satisfied, the power of arrest needs  to  be  exercised.   In  fine,  before

    arrest first the police officers should have reason to believe on the  basis

    of information and material that the  accused  has  committed  the  offence.

    Apart from this, the police officer has to be  satisfied  further  that  the

    arrest is necessary for one or the more purposes  envisaged  by  sub-clauses

    (a) to (e) of clause (1) of Section 41 of Cr.PC.

    An accused arrested  without  warrant  by  the  police  has  the

    constitutional right under Article 22(2) of the Constitution  of  India  and

    Section 57, Cr.PC to be produced before the Magistrate  without  unnecessary

    delay and in no circumstances beyond 24 hours excluding the  time  necessary

    for the journey.  During the course of investigation of a case,  an  accused

    can be kept in detention beyond a  period  of  24  hours  only  when  it  is

    authorised by the Magistrate in exercise of power under Section  167  Cr.PC.

    The power to authorise detention is a very solemn function.  It affects  the

    liberty and freedom of citizens and needs to be exercised  with  great  care

    and caution. Our experience tells us that  it  is  not  exercised  with  the

    seriousness it deserves. In many of the cases, detention is authorised in  a

    routine,  casual  and  cavalier  manner.   Before  a  Magistrate  authorises

    detention under Section 167, Cr.PC, he has to be first  satisfied  that  the

    arrest made is legal and in accordance with law and all  the  constitutional

    rights of the person arrested is satisfied.  If the arrest effected  by  the

    police officer does not satisfy the requirements of Section 41 of the  Code,

    Magistrate is duty bound not to authorise his further detention and  release

    the accused.  In other  words,  when  an  accused  is  produced  before  the

    Magistrate,  the police officer effecting the arrest is required to  furnish

    to the Magistrate, the facts, reasons and its  conclusions  for  arrest  and

    the Magistrate in turn is to  be  satisfied  that  condition  precedent  for

    arrest under Section 41 Cr.PC has been satisfied and it is  only  thereafter

    that he will authorise the detention of an accused.  The  Magistrate  before

    authorising detention will record its own satisfaction, may be in brief  but

    the said satisfaction must reflect from  its  order.   It  shall  never  be

    based upon the ipse dixit of the police officer, for example,  in  case  the

    police officer considers the arrest necessary to prevent  such  person  from

    committing any further offence or for proper investigation of  the  case  or

    for preventing an accused from tampering with evidence or making  inducement

    etc., the police officer shall furnish to  the  Magistrate  the  facts,  the

    reasons and materials on the basis of which the police officer  had  reached

    its conclusion.  Those shall be perused by the Magistrate while  authorising

    the detention and only after recording its satisfaction in writing that  the

    Magistrate will authorise the detention of the accused.   In  fine,  when  a

    suspect is  arrested  and  produced  before  a  Magistrate  for  authorising

    detention, the Magistrate has  to  address  the  question  whether  specific

    reasons have been recorded for arrest and if so, prima facie  those  reasons

    are relevant and secondly a reasonable conclusion could at  all  be  reached

    by the police officer that one or the  other  conditions  stated  above  are

    attracted.  To  this  limited  extent  the  Magistrate  will  make  judicial

    Another  provision  i.e.  Section  41A  Cr.PC  aimed  to  avoid

    unnecessary arrest or threat of arrest looming large on accused requires  to

    be vitalised.   Section 41A  as  inserted  by  Section  6  of  the  Code  of

    Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2008(Act 5 of 2009), which  is  relevant

    in the context reads as follows:

    “41A. Notice of appearance before police  officer.-(1)  The  police  officer

    shall, in all cases where the arrest of a person is not required  under  the

    provisions of sub-section (1) of Section 41, issue a  notice  directing  the

    person against whom a  reasonable  complaint  has  been  made,  or  credible

    information has been received, or a reasonable suspicion exists that he  has

    committed a cognizable offence, to appear before him or at such other  place

    as may be specified in the notice.

     (2) Where such a notice is issued to any person, it shall  be  the  duty  of

    that person to comply with the terms of the notice.

    (3) Where such person complies and continues to comply with the  notice,  he

    shall not be arrested in respect of the offence referred to  in  the  notice

    unless, for reasons to be recorded, the police officer  is  of  the  opinion

    that he ought to be arrested.

     (4) Where such person, at any time, fails to comply with the  terms  of  the

    notice or is unwilling to identify himself, the police officer may,  subject

    to such orders as may have been passed by a competent Court in this  behalf,

    arrest him for the offence mentioned in the notice.”

    Aforesaid provision makes it clear that in all cases  where  the

    arrest of a person is not required under Section 41(1),  Cr.PC,  the  police

    officer is required to issue notice directing the accused to  appear  before

    him at a specified place and time.  Law obliges such an  accused  to  appear

    before the police officer and it further mandates that if  such  an  accused

    complies with the terms of notice he  shall  not  be  arrested,  unless  for

    reasons to be recorded, the police office is of the opinion that the  arrest

    is necessary.  At this stage also, the condition  precedent  for  arrest  as

    envisaged under Section 41 Cr.PC has to be complied and shall be subject  to

    the same scrutiny by the Magistrate as aforesaid.

    We are of the opinion that if  the  provisions  of  Section  41,

    Cr.PC which authorises the police officer to arrest an  accused  without  an

    order from a Magistrate and without a  warrant  are  scrupulously  enforced,

    the wrong committed by the  police  officers  intentionally  or  unwittingly

    would be reversed and the number of cases which come to the Court for  grant

    of anticipatory bail will substantially reduce.  We would like to  emphasise

    that the practice of mechanically reproducing in the case diary all or  most

    of the reasons contained  in  Section  41  Cr.PC  for  effecting  arrest  be

    discouraged and discontinued.

    Our endeavour in this judgment is to ensure  that  police  officers  do  not

    arrest accused unnecessarily  and  Magistrate  do  not  authorise  detention

    casually and mechanically.  In order to ensure what we have observed  above,

    we give the following direction:

    All  the  State  Governments  to  instruct  its  police  officers   not   to

    automatically arrest  when  a  case  under  Section  498-A  of  the  IPC  is

    registered but to satisfy themselves about the necessity  for  arrest  under

    the parameters laid down above flowing from Section 41, Cr.PC;

    All police officers be provided with a check list containing specified  sub-

    clauses under Section 41(1)(b)(ii);

    The police officer shall forward the check list duly filed and  furnish  the

    reasons   and   materials   which    necessitated    the    arrest,    while

    forwarding/producing  the  accused  before  the   Magistrate   for   further


    The Magistrate while authorising detention of the accused shall  peruse  the

    report furnished by the police officer in terms  aforesaid  and  only  after

    recording its satisfaction, the Magistrate will authorise detention;

    The decision not to arrest  an  accused,  be  forwarded  to  the  Magistrate

    within two weeks from the date of the institution of the case  with  a  copy

    to the Magistrate which may be extended by the Superintendent of  police  of

    the district for the reasons to be recorded in writing;

    Notice of appearance in terms of Section 41A  of  Cr.PC  be  served  on  the

    accused within two weeks from the date of institution  of  the  case,  which

    may be extended by the Superintendent of Police  of  the  District  for  the

    reasons to be recorded in writing;

    Failure to comply with the directions aforesaid shall apart  from  rendering

    the police officers concerned liable for  departmental  action,  they  shall

    also be liable to be punished for contempt of court to be instituted  before

    High Court having territorial jurisdiction.

    Authorising  detention  without  recording  reasons  as  aforesaid  by   the

    judicial Magistrate concerned shall be liable  for  departmental  action  by

    the appropriate High Court.

    We hasten to add that the directions aforesaid shall not only apply  to  the

    cases under  Section  498-A  of  the  I.P.C.  or  Section  4  of  the  Dowry

    Prohibition Act, the case in hand, but also  such  cases  where  offence  is

    punishable with imprisonment for a term which may be less than  seven  years

    or which may extend to seven years; whether with or without fine.

    We direct that a copy of this  judgment  be  forwarded  to  the  Chief

    Secretaries as also the  Director  Generals  of  Police  of  all  the  State

    Governments and the Union Territories and the Registrar General of  all  the

    High Courts for onward transmission and ensuring its compliance.

    By  order  dated  31st  of  October,  2013,  this  Court  had  granted

    provisional bail to the appellant on certain conditions. We make this  order

    In the result, we allow this appeal, making our aforesaid order  dated  31st

    October, 2013 absolute; with the directions aforesaid.






    July 2, 2014.








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