Protecting the Rights of Arrested Women in India


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.

The common adage, “Women cannot be arrested before sunrise and after sunset,” underscores the significance of safeguarding women during the arrest process. This restriction is designed to shield accused women from potential harm and exploitation. To ensure their safety during arrests, amendments to Section 46 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, were introduced in 2005. Moreover, the UN Women annual report in 2011 highlighted the importance of empowering women and promoting gender equality worldwide. This article delves into the arrest procedure for women in India, and their rights during the process, and examines landmark cases where women’s rights during trial were violated.

Arrest of a Person

The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, details the process of arresting individuals in Chapter V, encompassing Section 46 to Section 60A. The Madras High Court emphasized that arrests should adhere strictly to the prescribed procedures, ensuring fairness in the process.

Procedure for the Arrest of a Woman

The legislature’s primary motive is to ensure the safety of women during arrests. Section 46(4), amended in 2005, specifies that women should not be arrested after sunset or before sunrise except in extraordinary circumstances. In such cases, a female police officer must obtain prior permission from a Judicial Magistrate. Additionally, National Human Rights Commission Guidelines stipulate the involvement of women police officers during the arrest of women.

Section 160(1) restricts the questioning of women at police stations or places other than their residences. The provision also mandates the segregation of arrested females from males and the provision of separate accommodations in the absence of dedicated lock-ups.

Search Procedures

Sections 47 and 51 govern the search of arrested individuals at their residences, with separate provisions for women. The touch or confinement of the body during arrest is restricted by Section 46(1) when arresting women, except in specific circumstances where a female police officer may be involved. Section 47(2) mandates notifying women residing customarily in seclusion before conducting searches.

Medical Examination of an Arrested Woman

Section 53(2) dictates that only a female registered medical practitioner or someone supervised by one should conduct medical examinations of arrested women.

Rights of an Arrested Woman

Arrested women, like all accused individuals, possess certain rights:

  1. Right to Free Legal Aid: Under Article 39A of the Constitution, the state provides free legal aid to those who cannot afford it. Section 304 of the Criminal Procedure Code directs State Legal Services Authorities to bear the legal proceedings’ cost, extending this right to women accused of offenses.
  2. Right to be Informed: Section 50(1) gives arrested persons the right to know the grounds for their arrest, with Section 50(2) specifically informing women about the possibility of bail.
  3. Right against Manhandling and Handcuffing: Section 46(1) presumes a woman’s submission to custody on oral intimation during the arrest. Touching is only allowed by female police officers when necessary, to avoid undue force or discomfort.
  4. Right to Inform Relatives or Friends: Authorities must inform a nominated person about the arrest and place of detention.
  5. Rights during Detention: Arrested women and men cannot be detained together. Arrests must be made in writing, specifying the reason.

Landmark Cases of Women’s Rights

  1. Bharati S. Khandhar v. Maruti Govind Jadhav (2012): The Bombay High Court directed police officers to follow Section 46(4) strictly, preventing the arrest of women after sunset.
  2. Sheela Barse v. State of Maharashtra (1983): This case led to directives protecting women prisoners in police lock-ups.


Amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code 1973 have led to significant improvements in safeguarding women’s rights during and after arrest. Ensuring that accused women are treated with dignity and respect is paramount, as they are more vulnerable to various social ills. These legal provisions and amendments have prevented many women from becoming victims of abuse and exploitation, upholding their right to live with dignity, whether they are accused or victims.

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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