Man! You cannot manacle a man | india | Hindustan Times
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Man! You cannot manacle a man

HANDCUFFING in Hindi movies even for a petty crime was common in 70s and 80s. But the scene slowly diminished later. The Supreme Court of India has repeatedly condemned the unnecessary use of handcuffs by the police as a violation of the right to personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The landmark Supreme Court case on handcuffing is Prem Shankar Shukla v. Delhi Administration (1980).

india Updated: Apr 17, 2006 00:37 IST

HANDCUFFING in Hindi movies even for a petty crime was common in 70s and 80s. But the scene slowly diminished later.

The Supreme Court of India has repeatedly condemned the unnecessary use of handcuffs by the police as a violation of the right to personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The landmark Supreme Court case on handcuffing is Prem Shankar Shukla v. Delhi Administration (1980).

In this case, the validity of certain clauses of the Punjab Police Rules, which made handcuffing mandatory during arrest, was challenged. In his opinion, Justice Krishna Iyer eloquently stated:  "The guaranty of human dignity which forms part of our constitutional culture . . . spring[s] into action when we realise that to manacle (handcuff) man is more than to mortify him, it is to dehumanise him and, therefore, to violate his very personhood too often using the mask of dangerousness and security." 

"The Supreme Court in 90s has stated handcuffing as unlawful," said Advocate Anupam Mehrotra. "It is permissible only in exceptional circumstances, not as a matter of course," he added.

But, the Supreme Court's directives are rarely being followed. Many police officers and other authorities are not even aware of them. However, it has been seen that the police argue that handcuffing is done to use restraints.

The ignorance among the police on Supreme Court Directive can be gauged from the fact that many more prisoners are seen handcuffed while brought to courts of law.

Advocate Tulika Srivastava said that even the undertrials brought handcuffed to court is illegal under the Article 21 of the Fundamental Rights.

Handcuffing for the purpose of humiliating or intimidating individuals violates numerous international conventions, elaborate model standards and resolutions and one of the precepts underlying international human rights law - that the dignity and worth of every individual must be respected, said Advocate  Srivastava.