No Arrests After Sunset and Before Sunrise


Welcome to the official blog of the Law Offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate and Associates, where we are dedicated to providing litigation support services for matters related to Women’s Rights On Arrest. In today’s blog post, we aim to shed light on the prevailing issues surrounding  Criminal Matters (Cr. PC, IPC), the legal framework for their protection, and the steps we can take as a society to combat these acts. Join us as we explore this critical subject and empower you with the knowledge to protect your rights and safety.

Arrest procedures are an essential aspect of the criminal justice system, shaping the course of investigations and the protection of individual rights. In India, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, outlines these procedures. An important provision within Section 46 of the Code sets forth specific guidelines for the arrest of women, with a particular emphasis on their safety and dignity. This article delves into the legal framework surrounding the arrest of women after sunset and before sunrise, examining the historical context, practical implications, and the constitutional basis for these protections.

Historical Evolution and Legislative Intent

The insertion of sub-section (4) into Section 46 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in 2005 marked a pivotal moment in safeguarding women’s rights during arrests. This sub-section serves as a protective shield, ensuring that women are not arrested during the nighttime unless exceptional circumstances necessitate it. The legislative intent behind this provision is to shield women from potential harassment and protect their dignity.

The Core of Section 46 (4)

Sub-section (4) of Section 46 is unequivocal in its mandate. It prohibits the arrest of women after sunset and before sunrise unless exceptional circumstances arise. The use of the term “exceptional circumstances” leaves some room for interpretation. Still, it signifies that this rule should be the norm, and nighttime arrests should be the exception.

When such exceptional circumstances arise, the sub-section demands the involvement of a Lady Police Officer in the arrest process. Moreover, prior permission from a Judicial Magistrate First Class within the jurisdiction of the offense or the arrest is essential, ensuring accountability and oversight.

The significance of these provisions is two-fold: the presence of exceptional circumstances and adherence to the prescribed legal process are prerequisites for the arrest of women during the restricted time frame. This underscores the government’s commitment to prioritize the safety and dignity of women.

The Concept of Arrest

The very definition of arrest centers around the seizure or restraint of an individual’s liberty. The mere pronouncement of the word “arrest” does not constitute a lawful arrest unless the individual willingly submits to the process and accompanies the Arresting Officer. Thus, the legal framework makes it clear that the protection of individual rights remains paramount even during the arrest process.

Exceptional Circumstances and Constitutional Protections

The concept of “exceptional circumstances” is not rigidly defined in the Code, allowing for a degree of subjectivity in its interpretation. It signifies that the arrest regulations apply generally, but can be deviated from when a genuine need for immediate arrest arises.

The Constitution of India enshrines various fundamental rights, among which is the right to personal liberty. Article 21 mandates that no person should be deprived of their life or personal liberty except by the procedure established by law. Moreover, Article 22 outlines specific safeguards regarding arrest and detention, emphasizing prompt communication of the grounds for arrest and the right to legal representation.

To preserve human dignity, Article 22 of the Constitution also articulates the rights of arrested persons. It obliges authorities to produce an arrested individual before the nearest Magistrate within 24 hours, excluding the travel time to the court. These constitutional provisions establish the bedrock for the protection of individual rights during the arrest process.

Scope and Ambit of Section 46 of the Code

Section 46 of the Code of Criminal Procedure sets out the manner of effecting arrests. It outlines three modes of arrest: the submission of the arrestee, physical contact with the person to be arrested, or the confinement of the individual. This section underscores that an arrest is a formal process, and compliance with the specified legal provisions is mandatory.

The Full Bench of the Madras High Court highlighted that any arrest must conform to the procedure laid down in the law to prevent the arrest provisions from being rendered nugatory or ineffectual. The law insists on a strict adherence to the established method of arrest.

Arrest of Women

The 2005 amendment to Section 46 introduced a specialized process for the arrest of women. It mandates that such arrests occur before sunset and after sunrise and require the involvement of a Woman Police Officer. Further, the arresting officer must obtain prior permission from a Judicial Magistrate First Class. The conditions set forth in the sub-section protect women’s rights during arrests, ensuring their safety and dignity.

Guidelines for Police Officers

In several judicial decisions, the Indian Supreme Court issued guidelines to guide police officers when arresting women. These guidelines emphasize the segregation of women from men in lock-ups, avoiding nighttime arrests, respecting the privacy and modesty of women, and ensuring the presence of female police officers during questioning and medical examinations. These directives reinforce the commitment to safeguarding women’s rights throughout the arrest process.


The legal framework surrounding the arrest of women in India underscores the commitment to safeguarding their rights, safety, and dignity. By prohibiting nighttime arrests and specifying the conditions for exceptional circumstances, the law seeks to ensure that the protection of women remains paramount. This framework is firmly rooted in the constitutional principles of human dignity and personal liberty. It is a testament to India’s dedication to upholding the rights and welfare of all its citizens, especially its women.

In summary, the arrest procedures for women in India serve to protect their rights and dignity. While these guidelines may require flexibility in exceptional cases, adherence to the rules ensures a just and compassionate criminal justice system.

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 for matters related to the Criminal Matters (Cr.PC, IPC).

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