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Get your facts right: Who says cops cannot enter a university without permission

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New Delhi, Dec 17: It has been said over the past couple of days that the police does not have the authority to enter a university. This question had cropped up during the JNU protests in 2016 and now due to the protests at the Jamia Milia University over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

The argument that the police cannot enter a university is flawed and incorrect. Under Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), a police has the power to arrest a person, without and order from the Magistrate.

Get your facts right: Who says cops cannot enter a university without permission

Section 41 of the CrPC states the following:

Any police officer may without an order from a Magistrate and without a warrant, arrest any person;

  • who has been concerned in any cognizable offence, or against whom a reasonable complaint has been made, or credible information has been received, or a reasonable suspicion exists, of his having been so concerned; or
  • who has in his possession without lawful excuse, the burden of proving which excuse shall lie on such person, any implement of house-breaking; or

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    • who has been proclaimed as an offender either under this Code or by order of the State Government; or
    • in whose possession anything is found which may reasonably be suspected to be stolen property and who may reasonably be suspected of having committed an offence with reference to such thing; or
    • who obstructs a police officer while in the execution of his duty, or who has escaped, or attempts to escape, from lawful custody; or
    • who is reasonable suspected of being a deserter from any of the Armed Forces of the Union; or
    • who has been concerned in, or against whom a reasonable complaint has been made, or credible information has been received, or a reasonable suspicion exists, of his having been concerned in, any act committed at any place out of India which, if committed in India, would have been punishable as an offence, and for which he is, under any law relating to extradition, or otherwise, liable to be apprehended or detained in custody in India; or
    • who, being a released convict, commits a breach of any rule made under Sub-Section (5) of section 356; or
    • for whose arrest any requisition, whether written or oral, has been received from another police officer, provided that the requisition specifies the person to be arrested and the offence or other cause for which the arrest is to be made and it appears therefrom that the person might lawfully be arrested without a warrant by the officer who issued the requisition.

    The interpretation:

    The Calcutta High Court in the Ramesh Chandra Banerjee vs Emperor case while dealing with the section had said that the said provision was not to restrict the police to enter the place or be searched. On the contrary it was a provision compelling householders to afford the police facilities in carrying out their duties. The legal provision also says that if difficulties are placed in the way of a police officer, he may use force to obtain ingress to such place.

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    The law in India gives ample rights to the police officer to enter and search a premises. The law does not make any distinction between a university or any other place, including a religious place. Operation Blue Star is one such example, in which the Armed Forces entered the Golden Temple.

    This also makes it clear that the police do not have to obtain the permission of the Vice Chancellor before entering a university. The law is being twisted by a select few because, although the police have unrestricted powers in such matters, as a matter of convention or courtesy at times, the police have informed the higher authorities of an institution.

    The law also does not give the higher authorities of an institution to deny the police permission. In case the police do inform the higher authorities and they deny permission, then Section 212 of the Indian Penal Code would come into force. This deals with harbouring an offender.

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