Police Officials Not Authorized to Arrest Any Person Under the Guise of Look Out Circular: Telangana High Court

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Facts 

The Petitioner had consummated the marriage with the 2nd Respondent on 21st of July 2017. After the marriage was duly consummated, the parties started having disputes with each other. Gradually, the disputes turned monstrous, due to which the parties were finding it extremely hard to live with each other as husband and wife. The Petitioner is in Saudi Arabia at present, owing to which, the 2nd Respondent narrated the entire story from the day they got married till the present date. She quite meticulously, gave a blow by blow of incidents that happened between her and her husband. In totality, the offences that were alleged against the Petitioners included Section 498-A IPC along with Sections 4 and 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. There were several aspects that were to be confirmed once the investigating officer kicks off the investigation.

Arguments made by the learned counsel of Petitioners 

Shri Lakshmiah Kanchani, who was the counsel of the Petitioners, submitted that the Petitioner, who is the accused in the case, is in Saudi Arabia at present. Notwithstanding, he is willing to come to India to cooperate with the investigating officer and help him conclude the investigation within the stipulated time, by furnishing information and giving access to documents that are in his possession. He also filed the travel details of the Petitioner. He very vigorously grew the plant of “faith” on the soil of the Hon’ble Court with regards to the fact that his client is not going to behave naively.

Arguments made by the learned counsel of Respondents 

The public prosecutor submitted that the Petitioners have been charged under Sections 4 and 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. Thus, the mere fact that the Petitioner is willing to co-operate in the investigation that has to be conducted by the investigating officer, should not be taken into consideration whilst deciding the Order, as the gravity of the offence is on a higher pedestal than the fact of showing co-operation.

Court’s observation

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The Court came down heavily on the Police officials who were tasked to file the charge-sheet in the aforesaid offence but have not filed it yet. It praised the efforts that the Petitioner was ready to undertake with a view to helping the investigating officer conclude the investigation. In light of the facts that the dispute between the Petitioner and the 2nd Respondent is a matrimonial dispute and that the Petitioner is willing to come to India from Saudi Arabia, the Court took the matter in a merciful manner and directed the investigating officer to follow the guidelines specified by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Arnesh Kumar V/S State of Bihar and the procedure as stipulated under Section 41-A of CrPC. It reminisced itself of the landmark ruling given by the Apex Court in the above-mentioned case that the police are provided with some stringent guidelines that they have to be mindful of, whilst arresting a person without obtaining a warrant from the Magistrate. It went on to clearly elucidate that the Petitioner shall co-operate with the investigation and provide all the details sought by the investigating officer.

Court’s judgement 

The Hon’ble Court directed the investigating officer not to arrest the Petitioner till a final report of the investigation has been adduced before the Court. Launching a scathing attack on the police officials, the Court directed the Shamshabad police, not to arrest the Petitioners under the guise of LOC (Lookout Circular). In the last lines of its judgement, the Court stated that bearing in mind the facts of the case and submissions made by the learned counsels, the Court finds it right to dispose of the criminal petition and thereby, directs the Station House Officer, Women police station, CC, DD, Hyderabad to quash the proceedings initiated on its file.

Click here to read the judgement.


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