Section 57 of the code of criminal procedure, 1973 apprises us that no police officer shall detain a person longer than twenty-four hours under any circumstances.

In the counting of 24 hours, the time of journey from place of arrest to magistrate office is excluded. This provision is further strengthened by Article 22(2) of the constitution.

Special order of the magistrate under section 167 of Crpc, 1973 can only extend the detention period for more than 24 hours. This is an exception provided to the general rule in Crpc itself.

Article 22 of the constitution says that “every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within 24 hours of such arrest excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the magistrate and no such person shall be detained beyond the said period without the authority of the magistrate”.

Article 22(2) applies to both arrests with a warrant or without a warrant.

In case of arrest under a warrant, the proviso to section 76 of Crpc, 1973 provides a similar rule.

This section is created:

  • To prevent arrest and detention for compelling people to give information.
  • To prevent police stations from being used for unsuitable purposes.
  • To afford recourse from a judicial officer independent of the police on all questions of bail or discharge so that the magistrate acquires some knowledge about what is going on and the nature of the charge against the accused, however, the information may be incomplete. It enables the magistrate to keep a check on the police investigation.

If the police fails to comply with section 57, they shall be guilty of wrongful detention.

Complaint about the police’s non-compliance has made the Kerala HC instruct the magistrate to call upon the police officer on the receipt of a complaint, to state in the form of an affidavit whether the allegation is true or not. If the officer is denied the arrest the magistrate may inquire into the issue and pass appropriate orders. The magistrate can also exercise his powers for making searches under section 97 to issue the search warrant and in case of non-compliance to proceed against the officer for contempt and initiate proceeding under section 342 of Crpc, 1973.

Manipulation with the time of arrest is disapproved.

In section 57 the expression “special order of magistrate under section 167” refers to the power of the magistrate to order detention in police custody for a limited period to facilitate police investigation. The magistrate before passing any such order under section 167 has to satisfy himself as to the necessity of remanding the accused to police custody.

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