NEW DELHI: A day after the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) Amendment Act 2008 got presidential nod, minister for women and child development Renuka Choudhary challenged her own government’s decision by announcing that she would like to examine the amendments.
The controversial amendments say that the police, instead of arresting an accused, will be obliged to issue him a “notice of appearance” for any offence punishable with imprisonment up to seven years. The person can be arrested only if he/she does not appear before the police in response to the notice.
“We are examining the amendments. If we feel that the changed law is creating a problem, then we go back and fight it,” Choudhary said. There are several offences where seven years or less is the maximum penalty, including voluntarily causing grievous hurt, outraging a woman’s modesty and crimes under the Anti-Dowry Act. Implementation of Protection of Domestic Violence Act will also come under cloud with the police unable to arrest in-laws and husbands on the complaint of women.
“All the good work of introducing strict provisions under the DV Act may end up in naught if the provision for arrest is removed. In-laws will no longer be afraid of beating up or burning their daughters-in- law,” an official said.
The law further says that a police officer arresting a person will have to bear his identification badge or tag. Besides, a memorandum of arrest shall be prepared, witnessed and countersigned. The person arrested shall be told that he has the right to inform a relative or friend.
The amendments have met with opposition from Bar associations who feel that doing away with mandatory arrest provisions will increase the incidence of crime as people will no longer fear arrest.