The spate of recent arrests, much before any crime is proven, needs to be tackled with some strong action from Parliament and the higher judiciary, said four legal eagles who spoke to CNBC-TV18 on the issues raised by the arrest of the former SBI chief Pratip Chaudhuri. One of the suggestions was to set up a tribunal only to try wrongful arrests, and give exemplary punishments to officers found guilty of wrongful arrest, said Amit Desai, the famed criminal lawyer from Mumbai.
"I think we need to set up a separate body what I would think is a tribunal, which deals with wrongful arrest. And I think the wherever there is a wrongful arrest contrary to the central principles laid down by the Supreme Court, exemplary action needs to be taken in relation to those wrongful arrests,” Desai said.
Arvind Datar, the well-known advocate from Delhi, pointed out that often judges in lower courts fear that granting of bail may work against their promotions. "As far as lower judiciary is concerned at least in my limited experience in the cases slightly sensation with some few crores involved it is almost an inevitable thing that the man is remanded to judicial custody -it has become the rule now, because the judges so I mean, worries about his own promotion about his own comments by the High Court on granting bail and so on.” He suggested the message should go loud and clear that granting of bail will not be held against the lower judiciary in case of promotions.
Datar wondered if arrests may be banned for certain kinds of crimes, but Amit Desai opposed it, pointing to the many economic crimes in the country. Majid Memon, the famed criminal lawyer and former MP worried about the unpardonably large number of undertrials in the country. He also said that in the case of Pratip Chaudhuri, if the arrest was because of summons not answered, at least Chaudhuri could have been granted bail as soon as he was produced rather than force him to spend two weeks in jail. He added that there should be more rules written and exemplary action taken by higher courts when bail is unfairly delayed. The appellate judiciary should pass strong strictures against the lower courts for wrongful denial of bail. Datar added that the judges should be asked to strongly explain why bail was denied, rather than why bail has been allowed.
KTS Tulsi, the now-retired advocate, also agreed with arrests needed to be avoided as must as possible. Other countries ensure the suspect wears anklets or the police are able to track him in some other way. This would be a more humane way to treat someone suspected of economic offences but not yet convicted, he said.
For more on how to tackle unwarranted arrests of people for commercial decisions: watch this show: