Rajasthan suspends arrests for crimes punishable up to three years

In the order, issued by ADG Crime, Ravi Prakash, police personnel across the state have been instructed to not make any arrests in cases for the said instances of crimes till July 17 “under any circumstances” as per the High Court order.

Following a High Court order, Rajasthan Police on Wednesday directed its personnel to not make any arrests in view of the pandemic in cases where imprisonment extends up to three years and which are triable by a First Class Magistrate.

In the order, issued by ADG Crime, Ravi Prakash, police personnel across the state have been instructed to not make any arrests in cases for the said instances of crimes till July 17 “under any circumstances” as per the High Court order.

The order was passed by Justice Pankaj Bhandari on May 17 while hearing the anticipatory bail plea of one Than Singh, 25, a resident of Bharatpur, for offences under IPC sections 457 (lurking house-trespass or house-breaking by night in order to commit offence punishable with imprisonment), 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage modesty) as well as the IT Act.

The court said that in this particular case, the maximum sentence, which may be awarded after conviction, may extend to three years and noted that there is a “huge pendency of bail applications” and as many as five judges of the Jaipur Bench are hearing bail matters, in addition to other cases.

“Taking note of grave condition of the pandemic, lockdown and various guidelines issued by the State to restrict the number of employees coming to workplace, it was deemed proper to hear learned Additional Advocate General,” the court said, and asked the AAG “whether the police, which is involved in other more important task of enforcing the lockdown, be directed not to arrest an accused charged with offence punishable with a term, which may extend up to 3 years till situation normalises and for the time being, till 17th of July, 2021, to which the learned AAG replied in affirmative.”

The court said that it is of the opinion that the arrests in cases where a punishment is up to three years and triable by a First Class magistrate, “will prove to be counter-productive”. “If a person, who is arrested and produced before the Magistrate and thereafter sent to jail is an asymptomatic carrier of Covid-19, the inmates may be put at risk.”

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