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Legal Safeguards for Women during Police Arrest

  • Posted on December 26, 2022
  • News
  • By Akta Yadav
Legal Safeguards for Women :
It is a general observation that the legal system of India, at many times, provides separate laws for men and women. This differentiation in law is allowed under Article 15(3) of the Indian Constitution which lays down that the State and Central Government of India, both are empowered to make special laws for women and children in order to safeguard their interests. The objective of this provision is to ensure an equitable treatment of both the genders in the society and the easily vulnerable citizens such as children. Legal Safeguards for Women Legal Safeguards for Women-Legal Safeguards for Women One such set of special laws have been provided for women during the procedure of arrest as well to ensure their dignity and safety.
Law governing Arrest Procedures
Arrest procedures are governed by the Code for Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973 from Sections 46 to 60A. All of these sections lay down the procedures by which the fair arrest of a person of any gender can be ensured.
What Special Rights do Women have?
The CrPC was amended in 2005 to make the laws relating to arrest procedures gender- sensitive. The Amendment added sub section (4) to Section 46 of the CrPC. The Special Rights now provided to women under Section 46(4) of the CrPC are: Legal Safeguards for Women Legal Safeguards for Women-Legal Safeguards for Women
1. Right to be arrested only by a Female Police Officer
An accused female can be arrested only by a female police officer since the process involves the accused being physically touched by a police officer. This is a key provision to maintain the modesty of a woman even if she is an accused person.
2. Right not to be arrested before Sunrise or after Sunset
A woman can only be arrested during daylight. In any case where a woman has been arrested in darkness, she must be released instantaneously as a matter of right. This provision aims to prevent mistreatment and victimization of women.
3. Requirement for Prior Permission by a First Class Judicial Magistrate
In few exceptional circumstances, where a woman needs to be arrested after sunset or before sunrise, prior permission must be taken by the police officer from the nearest Judicial Magistrate of First Class. The police officer must explain to the Magistrate the urgency of the arrest and only after a positive order, can the arrest be executed.
4. Right not to be Manhandled and Handcuffed
During arrest, the police officer is required to inform the lady regarding the grounds of arrest and ask her to surrender first. If the lady submits before the police officer by words or by her actions, the lady must not be manhandled for forceful arrest or handcuffed. She must be accompanied by the police officers with dignity.
5. Right to Medical Examination only by Female Practitioner
After arrest, if the police thinks that a medical examination of the arrested female would lead to discovery of evidence which would be helpful in investigation of the crime, such a medical examination can only be conducted by a registered female medical practitioner upon the arrested female. This is laid down under Section 53(2) of the CrPC.
Legal Safeguards for Women Legal Safeguards for Women-Legal Safeguards for Women
Other Rights provided by Landmark Judgments
The right to have a close friend or relative informed about the arrest has been provided to women by the Supreme Court in the case of D. K. Basu v. Government of West Bengal. Further, in the case of Sheela Barse v. State of Maharashtra, the Supreme Court of India has ordered that women must be kept separated from men in lockups. Therefore, at every step, it is the duty of police officers to ensure that the inherent respect of a woman, even though she has been accused of a crime, must be preserved.
The Indian criminal laws are complacent enough to cater to specific needs specially attributable to different genders. This is surely an evolving process and currently, the laws do match up to the best ideals regarding safeguarding gender- specific human rights.
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Akta Yadav

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