Notice to Assam DGP over ‘Handcuffing’ of Akhil Gogoi

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A single bench of NK Bora, Member, Assam Human Rights Commission directed to issue a notice to the Director-General of Police, Assam to submit a report informing the Commission as to whether the time-honoured guidelines issued by the Supreme Court, were followed while arresting Akhil Gogoi and producing him before court.

The Commission took suo moto cognizance of the case in view of the news published newspapers on 19 Dec, 2019 and various electronic media informing about the arrest of Akhil Gogoi, advisor of “Krishok Mukti Sangram Samiti” who was produced before the NIA court under handcuff, tying his hand behind his back.

Bora referred to the guidelines of the Supreme Court on handcuffing of accused / prisoner which has also disapproved of handcuffing terming it as an inhuman practice.

The Apex court in 1995 in “Citizens for Democracy Vs State of Assam” passed some directions on procedures to be followed while handcuffing a prisoner.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court issued the following directions:

“We declare, direct and lay down as a rule that handcuffs or other fetters shall not be forced on a prisoner-convicted or under trial- while lodged in a jail anywhere in the country or while transporting or in transit from one jail to another or from jail to court and back. The police and the jail authorities on their own, shall have no authority to direct the handcuffing of any inmate of a jail in the country or during transport from one jail to another jail, to Court and back.

Where the police or the jail authorities have well- grounded basis of drawing a strong inference that a particular prisoner is likely to jump jail or break out of the custody then the said prisoner be produced before the Magistrate concerned and a prayer for permission to handcuff the prisoner be made before the said Magistrate save in rare cases of concrete proof regarding proneness of the prisoner to violence, his tendency to escape, he being so dangerous/ desperate and the finding that no other practical way of forbidding escape is available, the Magistrate may grant permission to handcuff the prisoner….

… We direct all ranks of police and the prison authorities to meticulously obey the above-mentioned directions. Any violation of any of the directions issued by us by any rank of police in the country or member of the jail establishment shall be summarily punishable under the contempt of courts Act apart from other penal consequences under law (emphasis supplied).”

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