'Accused cannot be handcuffed without reason': Karnataka high court

Published on Jun 29, 2022 06:25 PM IST

The high court awarded ₹2 lakh to an accused after police handcuffed and paraded him following his arrest.

The accused had multiple cases filed against him and was arrested by police in Belagavi district.(Getty Images/ only for representation)
The accused had multiple cases filed against him and was arrested by police in Belagavi district.(Getty Images/ only for representation)
ByYamini C S | Edited by Chandrashekar Srinivasan

The Karnataka high court has awarded compensation of 2 lakh to an accused who was handcuffed and paraded by police in Belagavi district, news agency PTI reported. The court said, "An accused who is arrested can normally not be handcuffed." The court even asked the director-general of police to consider using body cameras to record the manner of arrests henceforth.

"It is only under extreme circumstances that handcuffing of an accused can be resorted to. When such handcuffing is made, the Arresting Officer is required to record the reasons for handcuffing, which would have to sustain scrutiny", the court said.

The court was hearing an appeal by an accused - Suprit Ishwar Divate - arrested in Belagavi after multiple cases were filed against him. Divate, a law student, was returning from an exam when police nabbed him in the marketplace of Ankali in Chikkodi taluk of Belagavi district.

He produced a video in court that was shot by the police themselves in which he was handcuffed, paraded and taken in a public bus to the Chikkodi police station.

Divate, who had a dispute with another person, has five criminal cases filed against him and is facing charges under the Negotiable Instruments Act for dishonouring cheques.

The police arrested Divate after a non-bailable warrant was issued against him.

Divate approached the court and sought compensation of 25 lakh. The court awarded him a sum of 2 lakh after the prosecution failed to produce any objections to his demand.

Justice Suraj Govindaraj of the Dharwad bench said the video did not show him being paraded around in town and therefore there was no need to pay exemplary compensation.

Therefore, 'the arrest being proper; the only question being handcuffing of the petitioner not being required, I deem it fit to award a sum of 2 lakhs as compensation to the petitioner payable by the State within a period of six weeks', the court said.

The court also directed the police to seek the trial court's permission to handcuff those under trial who are produced before the trial courts. "If no such permission is applied for and under trial prisoners were to be handcuffed, the concerned police officer would be taking a risk of such handcuffing being declared illegal and action being taken against them," it said.

"No person, whether he be an accused, under trial prisoner or convict shall be handcuffed unless the reason for the same is recorded in the case diary and/or the relevant record as to why such a person is required to be handcuffed," the court concluded.

(With PTI Inputs)

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