What rights do you have in case of an arrest by the Police in India –
The first thing you need to know is –
Every person who is arrested is supposed to be taken before the nearest magistrate within 24 hours of the arrest. (Time taken to travel to the Magistrate is excluded from the 24 hours)
This is the most important thing you need to know.
You then have the following rights –
1. Right to be silent / Right against self – incrimination
You have the right to remain silent. In fact the police is supposed to tell you that everything you say may be used against you in the court of law.
Regardless of whether they tell you this or not, remember you have the right to remain silent.
2. You have the right to legal aid-
You have the right to call your lawyer. If you ever get a call from a Police station and they ask you to come and answer some questions, even then, first contact your lawyer. Do not walk into the station. You can ask the police officer to summon you in writing.
3. If there is a warrant, you are entitled to see it –
Remember you can be arrested even without a warrant. But if the Police say that they have a warrant, you have a right to see it.
4. Right against Handcuffing and torture
You have a right to not be handcuffed. Only if the police suspect that you are likely to run away, should they handcuff you.
You cannot be subjected to torture and it is a crime.
5. Right to have someone informed
If you are arrested without anyone’s knowledge or presence, you have a right to inform someone. The law puts an obligation on the law enforcement agency to inform another person.
6. You cannot be illegally detained –
If you are being detained by the Police and are not produced before the Magistrate within 24 hours, it is illegal. You (you friend / relative) have the right to directly approach the High Court and file the writ of Habeas Corpus.
7. If you are a woman, you cannot be arrested after sundown and before sunrise unless there are extraneous circumstances. If there are, Magistrate’s written permission and the presence of a woman police officer is required to make that arrest.
Some other useful important points –
1. After detention, you are the responsibility of the Police. Remember that. If you think that procedure is not followed, be mindful and make mental notes of everything around you. Names and designations of officers, etc.
2. The Police officers cannot do anything they want with you. They are bound by law. Co-operate if it is not going to incriminate you.
3. Do not resist an arrest and try to run. You cannot. If you are being arrested, be mindful and assert your rights. Let them know, you know.
4. If someone you know is detained but you don’t know where, you can file an RTI application in the Police station you suspect and they are bound by law to give you information within 48 hours as to the whereabouts of your friend.
5. Sometimes people are arrested on Friday/ Saturday and kept in custody till Monday morning with the claim that Magistrate isn’t available. That is not true. A magistrate is available 24*7. Know that.
6. The Police officer cannot force you to make a confession. Confessions made to Police officers are inadmissible in evidence.
7. If you are arrested for a Bailable offence, you can get bail from Police itself. If you are arrested for a Non-bailable offence, only the court can grant you bail. If you get a bail, it doesn’t mean the trial is over.
(Bailable offences are less serious offences in which bail is a right. In such cases you must get bail immediately from the police. Non-bailable offences are serious offences where bail is a privilege and only the courts can grant it.)
8. If you anticipate being arrested, you can move the court and take an anticipatory bail.
9. Unlike, what is normally believed a traffic police can also arrest you. He is also a Police officer who has just been given traffic duties.