Feb 21, 2022

Here is what you need to know about Arrest-related Rights

Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami was arrested by the Mumbai Police today in relation to an old charge on abetment of suicide.

The Supreme Court has laid down arrest-related guidelines that give a person certain rights upon being arrested by the police. In DK Basu v State of West Bengal, the Supreme Court set out some requirements that have to be followed in all cases of arrest. So, if you are arrested:

  • The police officer who is arresting you should show correct and clear identification, and his/her name tag with designation. The details of the officer who handles your arrest will be recorded in a register.
  • At the time of arrest, the police officer arresting you has to prepare a memo of arrest which will have details like the date and time of your arrest. The memo of arrest needs to be verified by at least one witness, who can either be a member of your family or a respectable person of the locality where the arrest is made. The arrest memo also needs to be signed by you.
  • If the police are holding you in custody in a police station, interrogation centre or any other lock-up, you have the right to inform another person that you have been arrested and that you are being detained by the police at a particular place. This person can be your friend, relative, a person that you know, or anyone having an interest in your welfare. You do not have this right if your arrest memo’s witness is the said friend/relative.
  • If the person that you want to inform lives outside the district or town where you have been arrested, the police must inform him/her of your arrest details like the time, place of arrest and the place where you are being held in police custody. The police must do this within 8 to 12 hours of your arrest.
  • As soon as you are arrested, the police need to inform you of your right to tell someone else about your arrest.
  • Within 12 hours of your arrest, the police officer who arrested you has to give information about your arrest and place of custody to a police control room. The police control room will then display this information.
  • Every police station has a police diary which records the details of various arrests made at that police station. An entry will be made recording your arrest details in the diary of the police station where you are being held. The details include the name of the friend/relative you have informed, and the names and details of the police officials who are keeping you in their custody. 
  • If you request, you can be given a physical check-up of your body at the time of your arrest. Any major and minor injuries found during this physical examination will be recorded at this time. The details of your physical examination will then be put down in an inspection memo. The memo has to be signed by you, as well as the police officer conducting the arrest. A copy of the inspection memo will be provided to you.
  • Throughout the duration of your arrest, you have the right to be medically examined once in every 48 hours by a trained and approved official doctor.
  • Copies of all your arrest-related documents including the memo of arrest have to be sent to the Magistrate who will judge your case.
  • You may be allowed to meet your lawyer when the police are questioning you, although not for the entire interrogation.