Explained: What is the procedure to arrest a cabinet minister in India?

Three FIRs have been registered against Union Minister and Rajya Sabha member Narayan Rane, and the Maharashtra Police has sent a team to arrest him.  

Three FIRs have been registered against Union Minister and Rajya Sabha member Narayan Rane in connection with a speech at Raigad where he spoke against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. While the Maharashtra Police has sent a team to arrest Rane, Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil said it was “against protocol” for the state government to arrest the Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, and questioned how it could issue an arrest warrant against a Union Minister suo motu.

So, what is the procedure to arrest a cabinet minister in India?

If Parliament is not in session, a cabinet minister can be arrested by a law enforcement agency in case of a criminal case registered against him. As per Section 22 A of the Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business of the Rajya Sabha, the Police, Judge or Magistrate would, however, have to intimate the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha about the reason for the arrest, the place of detention or imprisonment in an appropriate form.

What is the procedure to be followed by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha in case of an arrest?

The Chairman is expected to inform the Council if it is sitting about the arrest. If the council is not sitting, he/she is expected to publish it in the bulletin for the information of the members.

What about the privileges of the Rajya Sabha members vis-a-vis arrests?

As per the main privileges of Parliament, in civil cases, they have freedom from arrest during the continuance of the House and 40 days before its commencement and 40 days after its conclusion, as per section 135 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The privilege of freedom from arrest does not extend to criminal offences or cases of detention under preventive detention.

Can a person be arrested from the precincts of the House?

No arrest, whether of a member or of a stranger, can be made within the precincts of the House without the prior permission of the Chairman/Speaker and that too in accordance with the procedure laid down by the Home Ministry in this regard. Similarly no legal process, civil or criminal, can be served within the precincts of the House without obtaining the prior permission of the Chairman/Speaker whether the House is in Session or not.

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