Guidelines to be followed before arresting women
India’s constitution guarantees its citizens fundamental rights including of freedom; however, this right is curtailed when the citizen, even non-citizen commits some crime that asks the law enforcement bodies to detain, arrest or take the person to custody. Also, thanks to a lot of incidence of violence and torture in custody, the violation of fundamental rights also visible.
The first landmark decision about the guidelines on arresting a person came from the Supreme Court of India in D.K. Basu vs. State case. Here the Apex court laid down some specific requirements to be followed by the police for arrest, detention and interrogation of any person, purportedly to obviate the possibility of torture in custody.
However, there were different circumstances for women in India which were going through a lot of issues when they were being arrested or detained. A lot of cases of sexual harassment cases forced the Apex court and consequently the legislators to come up with the arrest guidelines specific for women.
Following are The Guidelines to be followed by Cops While Arresting Women
First, the police officer is duty bond while making arrest to see that arrested females are segregated from men and kept in female lock-up in the police station. He/she must also make sure that if there is no separate lockup; women are kept in a separate room. Also, women police officers should be associated where females are being arrested.
Second, the cops arresting women must avoid the time between sunset and sunrise; this guideline was issued after several instances of sexual and physical exploitation in police stations by the cops themselves.
Third, according to the guideline women and girls should not be called to the police station or to any place other than their place of residence for questioning. Also, while the inquiry is being done, the time must be chosen the arrestee is not embarrassed.
Fourth, in cases where medical examination of the arrestee or any other women has to be done, it should be carried out only under the supervision of female medical practitioners. Also, arrestee should be given all necessary pre-natal and post-natal care.
Fifth, the cops must avoid arresting pregnant women and choose the option only if there is no other option as it’s not just the matter of the arrested woman but also the safety of the fetus which could get damaged in hustle-bustle. Also, laboring women must never be restrained.
Least but not the last, girls and women should be guarded by female constables/police officers and if any questioning is done, it must done in presence of female cops.