The arrest of an individual is a crucial aspect of the criminal justice system, and it is imperative to ensure that the rights of the accused are protected. In India, the arrest of a woman involves a specific procedure to safeguard her rights. This article delves into the procedural aspects, rights, and landmark cases associated with the arrest of women in India.

Arrest Procedure:

  • Legal Grounds: The arrest of a woman is carried out on legal grounds, such as the issuance of a warrant by a competent authority or based on the commission of a cognizable offense.
  • Presence of Women Officers: In accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court of India, the arrest of a woman should ideally be carried out by a woman police officer. This is to ensure sensitivity and respect for the dignity of the individual being arrested.
  • Proper Documentation: The arresting officer is required to prepare a memo of arrest, which includes the time, date, and location of the arrest. The arrested person is entitled to have a friend or a relative informed of the arrest and is also entitled to be medically examined.

Legal rights of arrested women in India:

It’s important for women to keep their modesty even when they are accused of a crime. Consequently, certain general and particular rights have been guaranteed to women who have been arrested.

  • Right to free legal aid: Individuals who are unable to cover the costs of legal procedures are entitled to free legal aid under Article 39A of the Constitution. It is the State’s responsibility to offer the arrested person—including women—adequate aid at its own expense.

Under section 304 of the CrPC, the State Legal Services Authorities are required to pay all legal expenses, including printing charges, the cost of hiring an attorney, and many other expenses. In the Hussainara Khatoon v. State of Bihar (1979) case, the same was heavily used.

  • Right to inform the grounds of arrest and bail: An arrested individual has the right to know the reason for their arrest under Section 50(1) of the CrPC, and the police officer making the arrest is required to inform them of this.

The 1986 case of D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal highlighted that both accused men and women can use this entitlement. In addition, a woman must be made aware of her right to be freed on bail following an arrest without a warrant for an offence other than one that is not subject to bail under Section 50(2) of the CrPC.

  • Right against handcuffing and manhandling: Only a female police officer has the authority to handcuff a woman who has been arrested for a crime unless it is absolutely necessary. In the 2012 case of Vibin P.V. vs. State of Kerala, it was determined that the law had to shield a person from abuse and torture by the police or other law enforcement officials.
  • Right to inform relatives/friends: When a woman or man is detained, the arresting police officer is required by law to notify the person’s friend or family, or whoever they designate, as soon as possible. The arresting officer must notify both the subject of the arrest and the location of the detention facility.
  • Rights while in custody: An arrested person cannot be held by a police officer for longer than 24 hours. If a woman is taken into custody, her custody should be properly arranged. Men and women cannot be housed in the same prison due to women’s modesty.


The arrest of a woman in India is a serious legal process governed by specific procedures and rights to protect the individual’s dignity and ensure fair treatment. Landmark cases have played a crucial role in shaping the guidelines for the arrest of women, emphasizing the need for sensitivity, respect, and adherence to legal principles in the criminal justice system. It is essential for law enforcement agencies to uphold these principles to maintain the integrity of the legal system and safeguard the rights of every individual, irrespective of gender.

We are a law firm in the name and style of Law Offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate and Associates at Gurugram and Rewari. We are providing litigation support services related to law matters in India, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to provide you with expert legal counsel and representation tailored to your specific needs and concerns.

Written by: Avichal Singhal Adv.

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