The Bombay High Court on Friday upheld the police’s authority to question a suspect without officially arresting him.
The ruling can while dismissing a bail application filed by sadhvi Pragyasingh Thakur, prime accused in September 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case.
Sadhvi had moved the high court, saying she was entitled to bail as she was illegally detained by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) for 13 days before her formal arrest on October 23, 2008.
Her lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani said the illegal detention violated Article 22 of the Constitution of India as no written communication was given to her in accordance.
A single judge bench of Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari said the 13-day period could not be termed as illegal detention as the accused on her own accompanied the ATS officer and that she was free to move anywhere before being officially arrested.
The judge said the mandate of Article 22 comes into play only after a person is arrested. “As long as there is no arrest, there is no mandate to be followed and complied with,” said Justice Dharmadhikari.
The judge refused to accept that the sadhvi’s daily interrogation prior to her formal arrest amounted to arrest or detention. “All this is nothing but an act of questioning a person on the basis of his likely involvement in a criminal case,” said the judge.