Arrest And Remand Illegal If Accused Not Informed Of Grounds Of Arrest; Filing Of Chargesheet Won’t Validate Illegal Arrest

Posted On - 27 May, 2024 • By - King Stubb & Kasiva


[1]In a recent ruling, a Bench of two (2) Hon’ble Judges of the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that a person arrested for any reason has “a fundamental and a statutory right” to be informed about the grounds of arrest in writing and that that the intimation of written grounds of arrest is ‘sacrosanct’ and applicable in all UAPA cases.


The officers of the PS Special Cell, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi carried out extensive raids at the residential and official premises of the appellant and the company, namely, M/s. PPK Newsclick Studio Pvt. Ltd. of which the appellant is the Director in connection with FIR No. 224 of 2023 dated 17th August 2023 registered at PS Special Cell, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi for the offences punishable under Sections 13, 16, 17, 18, 22C of the Unlawful Activities(Prevention) Act, 1967(for short “UAPA”) read with Section 153A, 120B of the Indian Penal Code,1860. During the course of the search and seizure proceedings, numerous documents and digital devices belonging to the appellant, the company and other employees of the company were seized. The appellant was arrested in connection with the said FIR on 3rd October, 2023 vide the arrest memo prepared at PS Special Cell, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi.


Whether it is mandatory to communicate the grounds of arrest or detention in writing to the accused or the detenue, as the case may be, even though the constitutional mandate under Articles 22(1) and 22(5) of the Constitution of India does not explicitly require that the grounds should be communicated in writing?


The court found out that the copy of the remand application in the purported exercise of communication of the grounds of arrest in writing was not provided to the accused-appellant or his counsel before passing of the order of remand dated 4th October 2023 which vitiated the arrest and subsequent remand of the appellant. As a result, the appellant was entitled to a direction for release from custody by applying the ratio of the judgment rendered by this Court in the case of Pankaj Bansal vs. Union of India & Ors., wherein it was contended that mere passing of successive remand orders would not be sufficient to validate the initial arrest, if such arrest was not in conformity with law. Accordingly, the arrest of the appellant followed by remand

order dated 4th October 2023 and the impugned order passed by the High Court of Delhi dated 13th October 2023 were declared invalid in the eyes of the law and were quashed and set aside.


The Supreme Court’s judgment in this case emphasizes the fundamental and statutory right of a person arrested, regardless of the charges, to be informed about the grounds of arrest in writing. This principle is deemed “sacrosanct” and applicable even in cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA). The Court’s analysis underscores that the constitutional mandate under Articles 22(1) and 22(5) of the Constitution, while not explicitly requiring written communication of the grounds of arrest, has been interpreted to establish this right as a fundamental safeguard. This principle has been reinforced through statutory provisions, making the written intimation of arrest grounds an inviolable requirement.

In the present case, the Court found that the failure to provide the appellant with a copy of the remand application, which would have communicated the grounds of arrest, vitiated the entire arrest and remand process. This procedural lapse was deemed sufficient to entitle the appellant to a direction for release from custody, in line with the precedent established in the Pankaj Bansal case. By quashing the arrest, remand order, and the High Court’s impugned order, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the primacy of the arrestee’s right to be informed of the grounds of arrest in writing, even in cases involving UAPA charges. This judgment underscores the Court’s unwavering commitment to upholding due process and individual liberties, irrespective of the nature of the allegations against the accused.






Judgment dated 15th May, 2024