Birendra Kumar Rai vs. Union of India, 1992

It was established that an arrest by a police officer does not necessarily require physical restraints like handcuffs; it can be effected through verbal communication if the person willingly submits to custody.

A similar principle was upheld in the case of Bharosa Ramdayal vs. Emperor in 1941, where making a self-incriminating statement to the police or complying with police directives could be considered as submitting to custody.


Kultej Singh vs. Circle Inspector of Police in 1992 that confining a person within the precincts of a police station constitutes an arrest.


In situations involving the arrest of women, the Supreme Court laid down guidelines in the case of Sheela Barse vs. State of Maharashtra in 1983. These guidelines emphasize the importance of segregating arrested females from men, avoiding arrests during nighttime, not calling women to police stations for questioning, ensuring medical examinations are conducted under female supervision, and taking extra care when dealing with pregnant women.


The case of Arnesh Kumar vs. State of Bihar introduced mandatory directions to prevent unnecessary arrests. It requires state governments to instruct police officers not to automatically arrest individuals in cases of section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code. Instead, arrests should only be made when they meet the criteria specified under section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.


These directions also include providing police officers with a checklist for arrests, forwarding this checklist with reasons to the magistrate when presenting the accused, and ensuring that the magistrate only authorizes further detention after reviewing the police report. Additionally, the decision not to arrest should be communicated to the magistrate within two weeks of case registration.


Failure to comply with these directions may result in contempt of court charges for the police officer and departmental proceedings for the judicial magistrate.

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