A day after a father and his son died due to alleged police excesses in Thoothukudi district, Director General of Police J.K. Tripathy has issued fresh guidelines to be followed for arrest/remand of accused persons.

The move also follows instances where suspects arrested by the police tested positive for COVID-19, while in judicial custody, and subsequently, the police personnel involved in the process also tested positive for the virus. Recurrence of such incidents would affect the police department as it would result in inadequate staff to run the police stations, he said.

Mr Tripathy directed Commissioners/Superintendents of Police to identify a Detention-cum-Production Centre in all sub-divisions with adequate facilities. Those arrested in non-bailable offences should be taken to the Detention-cum-Production Centre and not to police stations. A police team should bring such accused persons to the Centre after conducting a post-arrest medical check, including screening for COVID-19.

Since the Madras High Court had issued directions that electronic video linkage could be deployed for producing accused before the court, senior police officers should make necessary arrangements by coordinating with the judicial officers. Those arrested for bailable offences should be released immediately on bail.

If non-bailable offences where the arrest is planned, the minimum number of police personnel should be involved and all precautions like wearing of PPE should be ensured by senior police officers. If the accused person is remanded in judicial custody by the court, he/she should be taken to the earmarked prison and it would be incumbent on the police department to conduct the COVID-19 test before handing over the accused to the prison authorities, the DGP said.

Further, the DGP  has issued the following guidelines for arrest:

  • The COPs/SPs and ACPs/DSPs shall find out a suitable building having proper facilities in each police sub-division to be used as Sub-Divisional Detention-cum-Production Centre. If no building is available, the ACPs/DSPs office can be used and the ACP/DSP can work from home / nearby police station temporarily. The accused persons who are arrested in non-bailable offences and are to be produced in the Court shall be brought to this Detention — cum —Production Centre rather than brought to the Police Stations for production before the Courts of Law.
  • A GD will be maintained in these Centres and one Inspector level officer shall be posted there by the ACP/DSP concerned.
  • The police party (numbers to be kept minimum) have to bring the accused to this place after conducting the post-arrest medical examination along with the screening for Coronavirus.
  • Formalities of documentation will be done in this Detention Centre. The Honourable High Court of Madras has issued directions to the Police Department and also has informed all the Sub-ordinate Courts in the State that the Police Department may resort to the electronic video linkage for the production of accused before the Courts even for the first time after the arrest. In this direction, the COPs/SPs and ACPs/DSPs will make necessary arrangements and keep the Magistrates/Judges informed about the matter.
  • If the accused person is remanded to the judicial custody by the Magistrates/Judges informed about the matter.
  • If the accused person is remanded to the judicial custody by the concerned Magistrate Court, the accused person shall be taken to the earmarked prison and it will be incumbent on the Police Department to conduct the COVID test before taking him over to the designated prison.
  • If the person is found positive, the SI in-charge of the Detention-cum-Production Centre and all the Police officials who are involved physically in arresting the person only will be quarantined, which will be minimum in number and once such quarantine takes place, the COP/SP will post another Inspector in this Centre to be the in-charge of that Centre.
  • All hygiene protocols shall be followed in such Detention-cum-Production Centre. Disinfection to be done.