While it is the duty of the police to ensure law and order in the society, we all have heard of instances where police have crossed their lines and invaded our human rights. But, many of us due to ignorance are not able to take suitable measures to use our rights when the time comes. So, here is a brief overview about police powers related to search and seizures in India.
Police Interrogation – While there is no law where you can skip police interrogation when normally fit and stopped for one, its only good for you to answer them like a lawful citizen. If you do not cooperate with interrogation they do have the powers to arrest you.
Eg. You are driving on the road in the wee hours of the night and the police stop you. They might want to check your car for any illegal weapons or if its a dry area for unauthorized alcohol. At such a point you need to stop and cooperate further.
Search – Usually a search warrant is required as per the 1973 Criminal Procedure Code of India when it comes to searching your house or offices, but if there is no time to attain the warrant and an immediate search is important they can do so. But, the search has to be carried out in presence of the owners and the seized items if any need to be listed. Two witnesses have to be present alongside as well. Police can carry out a search in your house or office without a warrant if they suspect that you have been hiding a criminal of stuff that is considered unlawful like drugs , etc. As for shared house, in case you are not present, shared areas can be searched by police without warrant but not your private stuff. Police can also search without permission a towed or seized car.
So, it’s advisable for you to cooperate with them and be aware of the law. Having said that if you find any misbehavior or unnecessary harassment from the police, you might as well file your complaint with the human rights commission.
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