CHENNAI: The Madras high court has observed that an illegal arrest is the worst form of violation of the liberty of a person. And that is the reason the Courts are repeatedly striving to sensitize the police to be doubly careful whenever they resort to an arrest.
Observing this, Justice Anand Venkatesh has pulled up the police force for arresting a state-level billiard player on charges of smuggling red sanders. The judge also granted bail to the player.
According to prosecution, the Muthialpet Police intercepted a vehicle on February 22, 2019 and found the vehicle carrying 9 red sander logs. The vehicle was brought to the police station along with the five accused persons. Thereafter, the Inspector informed the District Forest Officer, Chennai regarding the incident and immediately a team led by the District Forest Officer rushed to the police station. They arrested the four accused and the fifth accused is absconding.
In the confession statement, the petitioner stated that he was not aware of why he was taken by the police and ultimately he was handed over to the Forest Range Officer. The Forest Range Officer had arrested the petitioner who is an engineering college student and taken him to the in-charge Magistrate - V Metropolitan Magistrate, Egmore, and the petitioner had been remanded to judicial custody.
Pulling up the police, Justice Anand Venkatesh said, “This is yet another case which brings to focus the sordid state of affairs prevailing in this state with regard to arrest and remand of accused persons. The respondent police contrary to what is found in the records, has gone to the extent of recording in the arrest memo as if all the four accused persons were arrested in the scene of occurrence, where the vehicle was intercepted and red sanders was seized. The respondent did not even bother to prima facie satisfy himself as to whether this petitioner had anything to do with the alleged offence. The respondent also did not satisfy the requirements of Section 51 of the Forest Act referred supra.”
“An engineering college student, who is also said to be a state-level player in billiards, has landed in jail and he must be wondering the reason as to why he was arrested and remanded to judicial custody and this shocking incident will leave a very deep impact in the mind of this petitioner throughout his life.
The stigma that is attached to an arrest in this society is going to be carried by this petitioner for a long time. It is not only the petitioner, who is directly affected by his arrest, but also his parents and family who will be in a state of deep shock due to this incident.”
Granting bail to the petitioner, the judge said the arrest and remand of this petitioner is in direct violation of the guidelines given by this Court. It is really unfortunate that the in charge Magistrate has also acted mechanically in remanding this petitioner to judicial custody. This court has already given a very long rope and has attempted to sensitize and educate the police and magistrates, regarding arrest and remand. It is now time for action. This case must send clear indications to the Police as well as the judicial magistrates that this court will not hesitate to give directions to take disciplinary action against the police for illegal arrest and against Magistrates for mechanical remand, in violation of law and the guidelines given by the Supreme Court and this court.”...