DailyPost 2117

Different nuances of law are debated in public forums, at times, for cases related to it, the acts of commission or omission, the lapses, the legal crevices, and the improvements that can be brought into it. One would expect the law as much hard corded as it can possibly be, as that is the principal ingredient of rule of law, and all the benefits that are derived out of it. Discretion and interpretation of law, the victim and the society at large abhor that is where the problem lies. At times is has led to wrath of the people and path breaking has happened in the recent passed as well, inclusive the definition of major crime. Sometimes the procedural law also comes into question.

The arrest or not arrest has been a million-dollar question for the police. The law to start with has bailable and non-bailable offences. The reasons for arrests and modalities thereof are all provided for. The preferred timing of arrest in case of some group of people are also indicated. The liberties to be to be provided to the arrested persons are clearly indicated in a landmark judgement. Police custody and judicial custody parameters are also broadly indicated in principle. The departmental SOPs have detailed every single process, timelines and activity.

What would be nature of offence, where for arrest permission has to be taken by the competent supervisory officers. It would seem based on the legal and procedural framework provided for, there can hardly be any discrepancy. There are checks and balances established by law, by now famous judgements and departmental compliances. But there is no denying the fact that for all to work in tandem, the attitude, commitment, competence, discretion and right use of prerogative has to happen. In the maze of all this, is there a chance of misusing the powers and get away with it, sometimes with gay abandon.

From the current narrative in the public domain, there are voices which feel that discretion is used, where it not there or uncalled for. Might be the principal of bail at times as a norm is also in question. Arrest has been gaining the status of a punishment for quite some time now. The Indian Evidence Act brings everything together, under one mandate on the evidence side. Is there a need to have a Bail Act or a statute which mandates to the last possible detail the gamut of arrest, bail, parole, police / judicial custody, all rights available, timelines, production to courts, medical examination, legal presence / support. All the disparate documentation would find one legislative mandate, while also adding / tweaking learnings in the last few decades. This is put our rule of law and right of life and liberty on a much more stronger footing. The name of law can be anything appropriate.

Sanjay Sahay

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