“Friday ko uthaya, taaki bail na mil sake (they arrested her on a Friday so that bail can’t be secured),” says Amitabh Bachchan’s character in the 2016 movie Pink, as he looks through an FIR after the arrest of Taapsee Pannu’s character. Such ‘Friday arrests’ are not restricted to movies, it is a common practice in real life as well. And now Madras High Court has asked Tamil Nadu police to stop making unnecessary arrests, particularly on Fridays, during criminal investigations.
“The police must be made to understand that all criminal cases need not necessarily involve arrest of accused persons during the investigation and an effective investigation can be done even otherwise,” Justice Venkatesh observed while hearing a plea filed by a man seeking anticipatory bail.
Section 41 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973 allows the police to make arrests without warrants.
“Ultimately, the aim is to stop unnecessary or hasty or illegal arrests. These arrests normally take place on a Friday or a day prior to holidays to ensure that the accused does not come out on bail immediately,” the judge added, asking the Tamil Nadu police to pull their socks up and show more quality and maturity in investigation techniques.
The judge added that a change in attitude will also reduce the number of ‘unnecessary’ anticipatory bail petitions. “This procedure [under Section 41A, CrPC] can be effectively implemented in matrimonial disputes, commercial disputes, property disputes and other minor offences, to name a few,” he said.
Speaking to TNM, advocate Sudha Ramalingam called it a very welcome move and something that needs to be implemented.
“This was something that was very unwanted. Most arrests are unwarranted arrests. It is more because of the shrill voices of the media that the police seem to arrest people rather than to file a chargesheet, get a trial done and get a conviction. Arrest as far as possible should be avoided, even Justice Krishna Iyer’s judgement that bail, not jail, should be the rule,” she told TNM.
In a judgement pronounced in 1977, Justice Krishna Iyer had said, “The basic rule may perhaps be tersely put as bail, not jail, except where there are circumstances suggestive of fleeing from justice or thwarting the course of justice or creating other troubles in the shape of repeating offences or intimidating witnesses and the like, by the petitioner who seeks enlargement on bail from the court.”
However, former DGP R Nataraj feels that this cannot be a blanket ban on all Friday arrests.
“I agree that it should be avoided but sometimes it is necessary like when there is an overriding law and order problem or an overriding disturbance to peace where someone has to be arrested and remanded, it has to be done. If there is rowdyism in the area, the police have to maintain peace. By and large yes, one should not arrest and remand on Friday because a person will not be able to apply for bail. But if they want to, they can always approach a special sitting judge on the weekend,” Nataraj said.