Kerala HC: Police Officers Directed to Use Necessary Force to Apprehend Fleeing Accused

Khushi Bajpai

Published on: 27 July 2022 at 17:58 IST

The Kerala High Court held that police personnel have the right to use any amount of force necessary to apprehend an accused while carrying out their official duties, particularly if the accused is fleeing.

Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas also remarked that even if the accused suffers harm as a result of the use of such force, it does not follow that the officer was not performing his duties.

The Judge stated that, “….in the attempt to subdue a fleeing accused, force can be used, and if in that process any injury is caused, it cannot be said that the police officer was not acting in discharge of his duty.”

The petitioner submitted in his plea that Circle Inspector of Police brutally attacked him with a bamboo stick and dragged him by his hair. He filed complaint against the officer alleging the offences under Sections 341, 323 & 324 of IPC.

On this plea  Magistrate refused to take cognizance stating that the petitioner should have secured permission under Section 197 of the CrPC to prosecute the accused. This infuriated the petitioner, who then filed petition before High Court.

The petitioner’s attorney, Lal K. Joseph, argued that the Magistrate erroneously determined that a sanction under Section 197 of the CrPC was necessary because the police officer who tortured the petitioner was not doing his official duties at the time.

Public Prosecutor, Noushad K.A. concurred the petition with his argument, arguing that the contested order does not call for any interference.

The Court discovered that a crime had been reported to the Nilambar Police Station, saying that about 30 people, including the petitioner’s employer, had entered a suit property without permission and committed the robbery offence.

The High Court observed that the petitioner’s wound certificate showed no sign of serious harm. The respondent police had further argued that the petitioner and other accused had fled as a result of the registering of the case.

Additionally, it was claimed that the petitioner attacked the police with a sword when they were apprehending him after being found in the neighbourhood of the contested land. The police pursued him throughout the procedure, and when they caught up with him, the petitioner collapsed to the ground. The officer and his squad then used the necessary force to get the petitioner to the ground, where they then detained him.

The Court observed that in this case, the accused was arrested 7 days after the registration of the crime. The Court observed that’s the Magistrate was right in judgement passed as in the fulfillment of official duty, the act done in excess cannot be regarded as sufficient ground the deprive a public servant of the protection under Section 197 CrPC.

When a crime alleging robbery and criminal trespass is registered as an FIR, necessarily the police will have to investigate and nab the accused and arrest him. In the process of arresting, the police are entitled to use such force as is necessary to arrest the accused.”

The Court dismissed the petition accordingly.


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