An arrest is an apprehension of a person by legal authority resulting in deprivation of the person’s liberty. Every compulsion or physical restraint is not arresting, but when the restraint is total and deprivation of freedom is complete, it amounts to arrest. The landmark judgment which deals with the guidelines during an arrest is D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal [(1997) 1 SCC 416]. In this article, I will talk about the Special Rights of an Arrested Woman in India.
Although the law is equal for everyone, and there should not be any discrimination, there are still some exceptions. Women are often given special treatment in the eyes of the law, as it is believed that women are one of the members of the vulnerable groups of our society. They are not physically as strong as men, and thus all the laws which are meant for men cannot be applied as it is upon women.
Special Rights of an Arrested Woman in India
The Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) has mentioned some of the exclusive rights which are given to the women at the time of their arrest. These rights are as follows:
- When a woman is supposed to be arrested, it is the rule that only a female police officer is allowed to arrest that woman. The male officer cannot do the same.
- Unlike men, women cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise. In case a woman has committed a severe crime, it is compulsory for the police officer to get in writing from the Magistrate the reason for the urgency to arrest during the night.
- A female shall only be allowed to examined by or under the supervision of a female, registered medical practitioner.
- If a female is supposed to be searched, it should be done only by another female by maintaining proper decency. This is mentioned under Section 51(2) of CrPC.
- A female suspect should only be interrogated in the presence of a female police officer.
- When a female is arrested for a non-bailable offense, even if the crime is severe, (punishable by the death penalty), the court can still release her on bail. This special and pertinent right is mentioned under section 437 (1)(ii) of CrPC.
- The most important right which was mentioned under the case of Sheela Barse v. State of Maharastra [(1983) AIR 378] was that it is the duty of the police officer who is making the arrest to keep the arrested woman in a separate lock-up in the police station. The male and female accused should be kept separately in a different lock-ups to avoid the sexual harassment of female inmates.
- According to the Provision of Section 160(1) of CrPC, a female should only be questioned at their place of residence. They should not be called to the police station or any other place for the aforesaid purposes. This is the right of not being physically present at the police station for interrogation provided to the Indian women.
- A female shall only be allowed to be medically examined by or under the supervision of a female, registered medical practitioner.
If the police officer does not abide by the above-mentioned rules, the female can stop the officer right away and remind him about her exclusive rights. She can complain against the police officer to the Station House Officer (SHO), who is the in-charge of the police station.
The complaint mentioning the detailed information about the incident along with the name and designation of the police officer should be addressed to the Magistrate. Such charges will definitely not dismiss the offense of the female accused, but it would surely provide the remuneration for the same.