Guidelines for Arrests in Cruelty and Dowry Cases

Last updated on May 11, 2022

To prevent arrests from frivolous cases and misuse of the law on cruelty and dowry cases, the Supreme Court of India has issued certain guidelines for the police to follow while investigating cases of cruelty. This was later issued as an advisory circular by the Ministry of Home Affairs.


  • The police should not arrest the husband or the relatives automatically when a case of cruelty is filed.
  • They need to have satisfactory reasons for the arrest without a warrant.
  • All police officers need to be provided with a checklist containing specific procedures to be followed. Police should forward duly filled check list with reasons and materials which necessitated the arrest to Magistrate while producing the accused for further detention.
  • The decision of the police not to arrest a person accused of cruelty should be forwarded to the Magistrate within two weeks from the date of the filing of the case against the person.
  • Police officers who fail to comply with these directions will be liable for departmental action and will also be punished for contempt of court by the High Court.


  • The Magistrate must authorise the detention of the accused person only after he has read the reasons of the arrest in the police report and is satisfied that such reasons are valid.
  • If the concerned judicial magistrate authorises detention without recording reasons as mentioned above, they shall be liable for departmental action by the appropriate High Court.

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