LHC bars police from arrests solely based on supplementary statements

  • Justice Ghural issues 7 guidelines for police to ensure compliance with constitutional rights, legal procedures

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Saturday barred the police from making arrests solely based on the supplementary statements of complainants, directing investigation officers (IOs) to first gather incriminating evidence before proceeding according to the law.

Justice Asjad Javaid Ghural issued the directive while hearing a case where Daska police were accused of abducting and unlawfully confining a woman. The court set guidelines to prevent such practices in the future.

In a significant ruling, Justice Ghural directed the District Police Officer (DPO) to suspend SHO Daska Ikram Shehbaz and Sub-Inspector Syed Najamul Hassan for abusing their authority. Both officers were implicated in the illegal abduction, confinement, and a midnight house raid without search warrants.

The DPO was instructed to initiate and conclude departmental proceedings against them within three months, with updates to the Deputy Registrar Judicial of the court.

Justice Ghural further ordered that the suspended officers should not receive any postings until the departmental proceedings are concluded. He also instructed the petitioner to file a written application for abduction and illegal confinement against the SHO and the IO with the DPO Sialkot, who must ensure the registration of a case under the relevant laws.

To avoid any excuses for non-registration of the FIR, the DPO is authorised to have the FIR registered by a subordinate officer of at least DSP rank if the petitioner fails to appear.

Guidelines issued by Justice Ghural

Justice Ghural issued seven guidelines for police officials to ensure compliance with constitutional rights and proper legal procedures:

  1. The liberty of a person is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution, and no one can curtail it through malafide or misuse of authority.
  2. Supplementary statements recorded by complainants without disclosing the source of information are not inherently admissible as evidence. The IO must insist that the complainant disclose the source of their information.
  3. IOs should not arrest the accused immediately based on the supplementary statement. They are required to collect incriminating evidence first and then proceed according to the law.
  4. Requests for physical or judicial remand of the accused must include the opinion of the concerned prosecutor regarding the sufficiency of the evidence.
  5. Requests without the prosecutor’s opinion should not be entertained by the Area Magistrate or the court.
  6. The Area Magistrate or the court must record reasons when granting physical or judicial remand, rather than doing so mechanically.
  7. If the supplementary statement lacks a source of information for the accused’s involvement, the magistrate or the court may require the complainant’s presence before acting on the request.

“Liberty of a person is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution,” Justice Ghural maintained. “No one can be allowed to curtail this right through malafide or colourable exercise of authority,” he added.

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