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New police rule amendments meant to ensure no unreasonable arrests

New police rule amendments meant to ensure no unreasonable arrests

The government of Sindh on the recommendations of Sindh police high-ups and home department officials has made amendments to the Police Rules to ensure that “no arrest shall be made before investigation on FIR”.

On the recommendation of the Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar, the cabinet approved an amendment in the rule 26 of the Police Rules 1934 to stop police from making arrests merely on account of the registration of an FIR.

After the amendment, police officials would be required to collect credible evidence of involvement of the accused in any crime and seek approval from senior officers beforehand in order to arrest the person named in the FIR.

This amendment would stop police from making unnecessary arrests of people.

The recommendations moved by IGP Mahar read that in exercise of the powers conferred under the Section 112 of the Sindh (Repeal of the Police Act, 1861 and Revival of Police Order, 2002) (Amendment) Act 2019, the police chief recommended some amendments in the Police Rules 1934.

Amendments

The IGP stated that after the rule 26.32, some new rules shall be added.

He recommended the following changes: “26-A.1. Notwithstanding anything contained in these rules, the Police officer making the arrest shall follow the procedure hereinafter provided.

“26-A.2. No person who is alleged to have committed an offence shall be arrested merely on lodging of FIR which shall not be treated as sufficient ground for arrest of a person against whom the FIR is lodged.

“26-A.3. The arrest of a person shall be subject to evidence available on record linking the accused with the crime he is alleged to have committed. 26-A.4. A police officer may exercise his power of arrest where there is reasonable suspicion of involvement of the accused in the offence.

“Explanation - The ‘reasonable suspicion’ does not mean a vague surmise but a bona fide belief of the police officer, based on evidence, with regard to the involvement of a person in the commission of an offence.

“26-B-1. The police officer shall, if he considers it necessary, arrest the accused person immediately, justify the following factors:

“Apprehension or likelihood of the escape or absconding of the accused, habitual offender with a previous criminal record, sufficient and credible evidence against accused; prevention of commission of serious offence in further of the offence reported. Apprehension that the accused will destroy the evidence; and apprehension that the accused shall interfere with the process of the deliverance of justice.

“26-C.1. Notwithstanding anything contained in any other rule, for the time being in force, the power of arrest shall be exercised by the investigating officer, subject to the permission of District SSP or SSP Investigation concerned, in any of the

following cases.

“Sections 147, 148, 149 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), 1860, relating to rioting, section 337A of PPC relating to grievous and simple hurt; section 319, 320 and 322 of PPC relating to culpable homicide not amounting to Qatl-e-Amd, section 324 of PPC relating to attempt to murder, section 354 of PPC relating to assault or criminal force to women, section 365-B of PPC relating to kidnapping, section 376 and 377 of PPC relating to rape and unnatural offences, section 447, 448, 449, 450, 451, 452, 453, 454, 455, 456, 457, 458 of PPC relating to trespass and lurking house trespass, section 406, 408, 420, 471 and 489-F of PPC relating to financial crimes and criminal breach of trust, section 506-B of PPC relating to intimidation, and section 511 of PPC relating to attempt to commit offences.”

The Rule 26-C.2 now states that if the circumstances necessitate the immediate arrest of a nominated accused in the aforementioned offences, the investigation officer shall arrest the nominated accused and immediately inform the district SSP or SSP investigation and seek their approval for such arrest before remand.

The following Rule 26-C.3 clarifies that if the District SSP of SSP investigation, as the case may be, are not satisfied with the evidence, they may order the release of the arrested person. According to the Rule 26-C.4, the officer making an arrest shall inform his senior officer(s) in hierarchy immediately.

The Rule 26-D.1 lays out the criteria for credible evidence to make an arrest in cognisable offences. Such evidence could be the presence of accused at the scene of crime according to the call data record, availability of independent witness and if the witness is related to the complainant, other factors may be given due consideration before making an arrest in such cases, medical evidence if the case is of crime against a person under the sections 337, 319, 320, 322, 324, 376 and 377 of the PPC, and documentary evidence in form of cheques, pay orders, demand draft receipts, agreements, affidavits, etc. in cases of 420, 406, 408, 471 and 489 of the PPC.

Moreover, any CCTV footage or audio-visual or any other evidence of the commission of offence derived from the use of technology, or past criminal record of the accused, or any other relevant evidence could also be credible enough to make arrests.

The IGP’s letter reads: “26-D.2. The senior officer shall verify, in writing, all arrests made directly or through an officer subordinate to him to ensure that no person has been arrested without a reasonable justification as provided in the preceding rules.

“26-D.3. A person arrested shall not be denied the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice within twenty four hours of his arrest. It is also mandatory that the nearest available kin of the person arrested, shall be informed immediately.

“26-D.4. Where the investigating officer decides to defer arrest, he shall obtain reasonable security that the accused shall not leave the jurisdiction of the local police station without express permission and will join in the investigation whenever summoned until he is cleared from the charges and allegations or formally arrested in the case.

“26-E. The provisions of rules 26-A to 26-D shall be in addition and not in derogatory to section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1989.”