5 Rights Against Police Every Indian Should Know

18 Apr 2024  Read 2320 Views

No matter how law-abiding citizens we are, encounters with the police are something most of us experience at least once in our lives. These encounters can be scary, but it's super important to know and stand up for our rights when dealing with them. 

As an Indian citizen, we have certain rights that protect us during interactions with the police. Understanding these rights empowers us and ensures fair treatment under the law. Here are five essential rights every Indian should be aware of when dealing with the police. Let's get started.

The Right to file FIR

According to law, a police officer can't refuse to lodge an FIR. As an Indian citizen, you have a right to file an FIR for a cognisable offence (serious offence).  

Failure by a police officer to register the FIR is considered a crime under the Indian Penal Code. The Supreme Court has said that in such cases, the police officer will be liable for prosecution and punishment.

To exercise this Right:

Visit the nearest police station, preferably close to where the crime occurred, and provide all relevant information to the officer in charge. The Criminal Procedure Code allows the informant to report the information orally or in writing. 

In case your Right is violated:

If the concerned officer in charge refuses to register an FIR about the commission of a cognisable offence within his territorial jurisdiction, the following actions can be taken –

(a) Approach the Superintendent of Police: If the officer at the police station refuses to register the FIR, you can submit a written complaint to a senior police officer like the Superintendent of Police or the Commissioner of Police. 

If the Superintendent of Police finds merit in your complaint, they may conduct the investigation themselves or assign it to a subordinate officer.

(b) File a complaint with the Judicial Magistrate: If the police continue to neglect to register the FIR even after approaching senior officials, you have the legal right to file a complaint with the Judicial Magistrate or Metropolitan Magistrate. This action prompts the police to register the FIR and initiate an investigation.

(c) Legal Remedy: If the police's inaction or refusal to register the FIR has caused harm or deprivation of life and liberty, you can file a Writ Petition in the respective High Court. This petition can seek compensation.

Police Are ALWAYS On Duty

No matter if a police officer is in uniform or not, they cannot decline to assist you by stating, "I am not on duty." According to the law, a police officer is always considered to be on duty and is obligated to help you if a crime is occurring or if you need to address a complaint.

This means that even if you encounter a police officer outside of their usual working hours or in casual attire, they are still obligated to assist you if you need help or if a crime is being committed in their presence. 

Understanding this aspect of police duty is important, as well as seeking assistance and reporting incidents without hesitation, knowing that the law is on your side.

Also read- 5 Important Rights Every Tenant Should Know

Police Can't Force/Threaten To Call Parents

Unless you're a minor and have been detained by the police on suspicion of committing a crime, police cannot use the threat of involving your parents in any situation. 

As an adult, the police are not authorised to contact your family members unless it's a legal requirement due to your age or the case's specific circumstances. This point emphasises the legal boundaries regarding police interaction with individuals based on their age and legal status. 

When dealing with minors, the police have certain protocols in place to involve parents or legal guardians as part of juvenile justice procedures. However, for adults, unless there are exceptional circumstances or legal requirements, the police cannot compel or threaten to contact family members during an investigation or encounter. 

Understanding this difference is important for individuals to know their rights and ensure fair treatment in interactions with law enforcement.

Live-In Relationships Are Not Illegal

In India, live-in relationships are not illegal as long as they are between two consenting adults. No police officer or anyone else can harass or bother just to live with a partner. 

The Allahabad Court said that according to Article 21 of the Constitution of India, couples in live-in relationships have the right to coexist happily without interference.

In fact, children born into such live-in relationships have the right to inherit property from their parents, just like children born into married couples. 

Traffic Police cannot seize Vehicle keys.

A police officer can not force you out of your car. According to the Motor Vehicles Act, it's also against the law for an officer to forcefully take your car keys. Yes, you read it correctly.

The first thing they will ask for is the important documents related to your vehicle. Here's a list of the documents you should always have in your vehicle:

  • Registration Certificate (RC)
  • Pollution Under Control (PUC) Certificate
  • Driving License (DL)
  • Bike insurance policy document

Remember, you must keep the original copies of these documents in your vehicle at all times. You can also have digital copies on your phone. Whichever way you carry them, make sure you have them with you when you're stopped by the police.

If you want to learn about human rights in India, click on the link.

Conclusion

Knowing your rights when dealing with the police is super important for every person in India. These rights keep you respected, make sure you're treated fairly, and follow the rules of justice and law. When you know and use your rights, you help make a place where everyone's rights are valued and protected.

About the Author: Anirudh Nikhare | 42 Post(s)

Anirudh did his Bachelor's in Law and has practical experience in IPR, Contracts, and Corporate. He is your go-to legal content writer turning head-scratching legal topics into easy-to-understand gems of wisdom. Through his blog, he aims to empower readers with knowledge, making legal concepts digestible and applicable to everyday life.

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