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Business News/ News / India/  Handcuffs should not be used for economic offenders, suggests parliamentary panel | Here's why

Handcuffs should not be used for economic offenders, suggests parliamentary panel | Here's why

The parliamentary committee suggested changes to the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), stating that economic offenders should not be included in the category of individuals who can be handcuffed.

A parliamentary panel recommended that the people accused of economic offences should not be handcuffed. (AFP)Premium
A parliamentary panel recommended that the people accused of economic offences should not be handcuffed. (AFP)

A parliamentary committee recommended that the people accused of economic offences should not be handcuffed. They should not be clubbed with those arrested for heinous crimes such as rape and murder, the committee said, while recommending changes to the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), news agency PTI reported.

The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS-2023) bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 11, along with the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS-2023) and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA-2023) bills. The three proposed laws seek to replace the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, 1898, the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, respectively.

‘No handcuffs for economic offenders’ | Why

According to PTI, the parliamentary panel said it felt the use of handcuffs is appropriately restricted to select heinous crimes — in a bid to prevent escape of individuals accused of serious offences and ensure safety of police officers and staffers during arrests.

ALSO READ: List of Fugitive Economic Offenders in India

Now, the parliamentary committee was of the view that "economic offences" should not be included in this category.

This is because the term "economic offences" encompasses a wide range of offences — from petty to serious. Therefore, it may not be suitable for blanket application of handcuffing in all cases falling under this category, the PTI report said.

"The committee, therefore, recommends that Clause 43(3) may be suitably amended to delete the words 'economic offences' from the clause," the panel was quoted as saying.

ALSO READ: Who is Ramachandran Viswanathan? All you need to know as Bengaluru court declares him Fugitive Economic Offender

What Clause 43(3) of BNSS says

The rules for the use of handcuffs is outlined in Clause 43(3) of the BNSS.

It states, "The police officer may, keeping in view the nature and gravity of the offence, use handcuff while effecting the arrest of a person who is a habitual, repeat offender who escaped from custody, who has committed offence of organised crime, offence of terrorist act, drug related crime, or offence of illegal possession of arms and ammunition, murder, rape, acid attack, counterfeiting of coins and currency notes, human trafficking, sexual offences against children, offences against the State, including acts endangering sovereignty, unity and integrity of India or economic offences."

ALSO READ: Cabinet approves Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance 2018

What was earlier said on the use if handcuffs?

The Supreme Court had disapproved of handcuffing of convicts and under trial prisoners at several occasions in the past.

In a 1980 order, it had said: "The collection of handcuff law, namely, Prisoners (Attendance in Courts) Act, 1955; Punjab Police Rules, 1934, (Vol. III) Rules 26: 22(i) (a) to (f); 26.21A, 27.12, Standing order 44, Instruction on handcuffs of November, 1977, and orders of April 1979, must meet the demands of Articles 14, 19 and 21.

ALSO READ: Bill to help government bring back fugitive economic offenders gets Parliament’s nod

It had held that "handcuffing is prima facie inhuman and, therefore, unreasonable, is over harsh, and at the first blush, arbitrary. Absent fair procedure and objective monitoring to inflict "irons" is to resort to zoological strategies repugnant to Article 21".

As per Prison Act 1894, “The Superintendent may examine any person touching any such offence, and determine thereupon, and punish such offence by- imposition of handcuffs of such pattern and weight, in such manner and for such period, as may be prescribed by rules made by the State Government."

What else the panel recommended?

The panel also recommended changes related to the police custody of an accused beyond the first 15 days from arrest.

The committee said that Clause 187(2) of the BNSS stipulates a total of 15 days for police custody, to be utilised in whole or in parts at any time, during the initial 40 days or 60 days out of the detention period of 60 days or 90 days, as applicable.

However, there is a concern that this clause could be vulnerable to misuse by authorities as it does not explicitly clarify that the custody was not taken in the first 15 days either due to the conduct of the accused or due to extraneous circumstances beyond the control of the investigating officer.

"The committee recommends that a suitable amendment may be brought to provide greater clarity in the interpretation of this clause. The commission also recommends that in Clause 482 of the BNSS, the words 'the accused may be required for police custody beyond the first fifteen days' may be added," it noted.

Under the current Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), police custody can be sought and granted only during the first 15 days of detention, for a maximum of 15 days.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published: 13 Nov 2023, 09:35 PM IST
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