“Quis custodiet ipsos custodies” – who will watch the watchman?


Illegal police detention must be reported

The Constitution of Pakistan jealously safeguards the liberty of citizen of Pakistan. Article 9 of the Constitution clearly states that no person shall be deprived of his life or liberty. A citizen could not be deprived of his liberty on the urge of any Police official. Article 4 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973, has laid down that every citizen shall be dealt with in accordance with law. Whereas Article 10 (4) of the Constitution clearly states that a detention order of a person could only be made if he was acting against the defence or security of Pakistan.


It is a well-settled law that the S.H.O or any other Senior Police official cannot detain any person in lock-up without any F.I.R, or case registered under section 154 Criminal Procedure Code 1898 in Station diary of the said Police Station. If the person was not produced by police before Magistrate within 24-hours hours for seeking remand and was arrested by police when no material was available to detain him in commission of any crime, than certainly police had committed a wrongful action, on account of deprivation of person’s liberty. The law does not authorise any police personnel to keep the arrest of a person pending for more than 24-hours. Section 61 of the Criminal Procedure Code 1898, specifically states that no police officer shall detain in custody a person arrested without warrant for a longer period than under all the circumstances of the case is reasonable, and such period shall not, in the absence of a special order of a Magistrate under section 167, exceed twenty-four hours exclusive of the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest of the Magistrate’s Court. Whereas Article 10 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973, provides that no person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest, nor shall he be denied the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice. Henceforth if any Police official is involved in illegal detention of a citizen of Pakistan, he must be punished for playing havoc and mischief by keeping the innocent citizen in wrongful confinement, moreover he must be dealt with severely and exemplary cost in shape of compensation be imposed upon him and must dealt under the strict clauses of Police Rules 1934, Police Order 2002, and Pakistan Penal Code 1860.


Sufferers of illegal detention can file a petition under section 22-A Criminal Procedure Code 1898 before the Justice of Peace of the relevant district, who can accordingly give directions to the Police to register F.I.R against the police officials involved in illegal detention of the citizen. Moreover In a number of Habeas Corpus petitions filed under section 491 of criminal procedure code, the Courts have ordered to register F.I.Rs against the delinquent Police officers and monetary compensation were also ordered to be paid by the Police Department to the detenus. There are several reported cases in which the Courts while dealing cases of illegal detention under section 491, Cr.P.C. has allowed compensation. In the reported case of Mazharuddin v. State (1998 PCr.LJ 1035) it has held that High Court under its wide powers of the Constitution, can award monetary compensation to the victims of violation of fundamental rights. The Court further held that amount of compensation would be determined by the Court in its discretion keeping in view the principle applied in awarding general damages in case of false imprisonment. Once the victim of illegal detention established the fact of illegal imprisonment, it was sufficient to make out a prima facie case and onus would fall to Police to prove that detention was lawful.


If a police officer keep innocent citizens in lockup of police station in unlawful and illegal manner than such highhandedness and disregard of law must not be condoned or tolerated. Law enforcement agencies should respect law and rights guaranteed to citizen under the Constitution of Pakistan and must not take law into their own hands and take away liberty citizens without due process of law, the malicious acts on the part of police official must not be brushed aside and must be reported through appropriate forum.