SC upholds ruling over arrest on suspicion

The Supreme Court today upheld a High Court verdict with some modifications and guidelines to stop police force from making arbitrary arrests on suspicion and torturing arrestees on remand.

A four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha dismissed an appeal filed by the government challenging the HC verdict.

The HC directive came on April 7 in 2003 upon a writ petition filed by a group of human rights organisations and individuals following the tragic death in police custody of Shamim Reza Rubel, a student of Independent University on July 23, 1998.

The writ petitioners’ counsel Dr Kamal Hossain said the apex court has apparently upheld the HC verdict with some modifications and guidelines about arresting a person on suspicion and taking a person on remand.

The modifications and observations will be known when the full text of the SC verdict is released, Dr Kamal said.

In its 2003 judgement, the HC issued 15-point directives barring the government from arresting any person under the Special Powers Act after picking him/her up on suspicion.

One of the directives says an accused must be interrogated by the investigation officer in a prison room, instead of a police interrogation cell, until the cell has a glass wall or a wall with grilles on one side to make the accused visible to the lawyer or relatives.

The court also ruled that sections 54 and 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) dealing with the arrest on suspicion and subsequent remand respectively were not consistent with the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.

The HC asked the government to amend the relevant sections of the CrPC within six months from the date of the ruling.

The court also made it mandatory for a police officer to produce a person before the magistrate within 24 hours of arrest.

It said a person arrested under section 54 cannot be placed on police remand for interrogation without any nod of the metropolitan sessions judge or the district and sessions judge.

After the death of Rubel in police custody, the writ petition was jointly filed by BLAST, Ain o Salish Kendra, Sammilita Samajik Andolan, Sabita Rani Chakroborty, Syed Anwarul Haq, Sultanuzzaman Khan, Ummun Naser and Prof Maniruzzaman Hyat Mamud on November 29 in 1998.

The government had filed the appeal with the SC on August 2 in 2003 against the HC verdict.


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