Search of Arrested Person
Section 51 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 authorizes in certain circumstances-the search of arrested persons. It empowers the search of the person arrested and authorizes the seizure of the articles found on the person. This is the only provision which allows a police officer to make a personal search of arrested persons.
It comes into operation only after arrest with or without warrant and not before. No search witness is legally necessary.
Whenever a person is arrested by a police officer under a warrant which does not provide for the taking of bail, or under a warrant which provides for the taking of bail but the Person arrested cannot furnish bail, and whenever a person is arrested without warrant, or by a private person under a warrant, and cannot legally be admitted to bail, or is unable to furnish bail, the officer making the arrest or, when the arrest is made by a private person, the police officer to whom he makes over the person arrested, may search such person, and place in safe custody all articles, other than necessary wearing-apparel, found upon him and where any article is seized from the arrested person, a receipt showing the articles taken in possession by the police officer shall be given to such person. [S. 51 (1)]
Whenever it is necessary to cause a female to be searched, the search shall be made by another female with strict regard to decency. [S. 51 (2)]
Though section 51 of the Cr.P.C does not mention that it is necessary to prepare a panchanama in the presence of independent panchas when the search is taken, it is one of the requirements of law under section 51 that receipt has to be given to the accused.
Plain reading of the aforesaid provision clearly discloses that there is no provision which requires the panch to be called in case of search of the person.
However, an obligation is to put on the police officer to put all the articles which are on his person in police custody and give receipt showing the articles taken in possession by the police officer to such person.
Power to size offensive weapons
According to Section 52 the officer or other person making any arrest under this Code may take from the person arrested any offensive weapons which he has about his person, and shall deliver all weapons so taken to the Court or officer before which or whom the officer or person making the arrest is required by this Code to produce the person arrested.
Examination of accused by medical practitioner at the request of police officer
Sections 53 and 54 are part and parcel of Chapter V of the Code of Criminal Procedure which deals with the arrest of the person. Section 53 of the CrPC pertains to examination of the accused by a medical practitioner at the request of a police officer. Section 53 A refers to examination of person accused of rape by medical practitioner and Section 54 refers to examination of an arrested person by a medical officer.
The provisions of Sections 53 and 54 are incorporated in new Code on the recommendations of the Law Commission. Section 53 was intended to remove the lacuna in the old Code by reason of which it was not possible to subject an arrested person to medical examination without his consent. The new section makes this possible.
It was also thought expedient to have such a provision for facilitating effective investigation. Section 53 imposes an obligation upon the arrested person to subject to medical examination at the instance of the police to help the investigation. Section 54 in its turn confers upon the arrested person a right to have himself medically examined to establish his innocence or to show that he was subjected to torture or pain etc., in the police custody. Since there was no provision in the old Code in that behalf provisions of Sections 53 and 54 are incorporated in the new Code.
The provision made in Section 53 of the Code is intended to help the investigation of the crime on the scientific lines so as to enable collection of evidence to prove the guilt or innocence of the person. The modern community living requires such modern scientific methods of crime detection, lest the public go unprotected.
See Also : Anil Anantrao Lokhande v. State of Maharashtra, 1981 CriLJ 125
Section 53 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and its explanation, which read under:
When a person is arrested on a charge of committing an offence of such a nature and alleged to have been committed under such circumstances that there are reasonable grounds for believing that an examination of his person will afford evidence as to the commission of an offence, it shall be lawful for a registered medical practitioner, acting at the request of a police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector, and for any person acting in good faith in his aid and under his direction, to make such an examination of the person arrested as is reasonably necessary in order to ascertain the facts which may afford such evidence, and to use such force as is reasonably for that purpose. [S. 53 (1)]
Whenever the person of a female is to be examined under this section, the examination shall be made only by, or under the supervision of, a female registered medical practitioner. [S. 53 (2)]
In this section and in sections 53A and 54, “examination” shall include the examination of blood, blood stains, semen, swabs in case of sexual offences, sputum and sweat, hair samples and finger nail clippings by the use of modern and scientific techniques including DNA profiling and such other tests which the registered medical practitioner thinks necessary in a particular case. [Explanation (a) to S. 53]
“Registered medical practitioner” means a medical practitioner who possess any medical qualification as defined in clause (h) of section 2 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and whose name has been entered in a State Medical Register. [Explanation (b) to S. 53]
Section 53 says that if a police officer feels that there are reasonable grounds for believing that an examination of the person of the accused will afford evidence as to commission of the offence, he may request a registered medical practitioner to make such examination of his person as is reasonably necessary. For such examination, it is permissible to use such force as may reasonably be necessary.
Explanation (a) to Section 53 says what examination is. The examination shall include the examination of blood, blood stains, semen, swabs in case of sexual offences, sputum and sweat, hair samples and finger nail clippings by the use of modern and scientific techniques including DNA profiling and such other tests which the registered medical practitioner thinks necessary in a particular case. This explanation was substituted by the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005.
S. 53 of the Code only lays down a condition that medical examination will have to be done at the instance of a police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector. It does not debar other superior officers or the Court concerned from exercising said power if it is necessary for doing justice in a criminal case.
The Honble Supreme Court in Selvi and others v. State of Karnataka, AIR 2010 SC 1974 has accepted the submission that while bodily substances such as blood, semen, sputum, sweat, hair and finger nail clippings can be readily characterized as physical evidence, the same cannot be said for the techniques in question in that cited case namely Narcoanalysis, Polygraph test (lie-detector test) and BEAP (Brain Electrical Activation Profile) and had pointed out the distinction between physical evidence and testimonial acts.
The question that arise for consideration in Ananth Kumar Naik v. State Of Andhra Pradesh, 1977 CriLJ 1797 was that whether there is any provision in the Criminal Procedure Code to direct an accused person to give samples of his blood and semen and whether the criminal court has jurisdiction to give such a direction. The Court held that whatever discomfort that may be caused when samples of blood and semen are taken from an arrested person it is justified by the provisions of Sections 53 and 54, Cr. P. C.