Section 97 CrPC: Search for Wrongfully Confined Persons – India’s Code of Criminal Procedure

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Section 97 CrPC: Search for Wrongfully Confined Persons

This section of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) empowers a Magistrate to order the search for a person believed to be wrongfully confined.

1. The Code

Section 97 CrPC:
“Whenever a Magistrate has reason to believe that any person is being wrongfully confined, he may issue a warrant to any police officer authorizing him to search for such person and to use such force as may be necessary for the purpose of rescuing such person.”

2. Explanation

This section empowers a Magistrate to act proactively when there’s credible information about someone being held against their will. It allows for a warrant to be issued for a search and rescue operation.

  • Who can issue the warrant? A Magistrate, which can be a Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) or a Magistrate of higher jurisdiction.
  • What grounds? The Magistrate must have reason to believe that the person is being wrongfully confined. This can be based on evidence, complaints, or other credible information.
  • What powers does the warrant grant? It authorizes a police officer to:
    • Search for the confined person
    • Use reasonable force to rescue them, if necessary

3. Illustration

Imagine a scenario where a neighbor reports that a woman has been shouting for help from inside a locked house. A Magistrate, upon receiving this information and finding it credible, might issue a warrant under Section 97 for police to search the house and rescue the woman.

4. Common Questions and Answers

Q: What is “wrongful confinement”?

A: This means being detained or held against one’s will without legal justification. It could involve physical restraint, threats, or other means of coercion.

Also Read  SECTION 49 - Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita(BNSS) - Search Of Arrested Person.

Q: What if the confined person doesn’t want to be rescued?

A: The police officer must exercise caution and ensure the person’s safety. If the person is of sound mind and clearly expresses their desire not to be rescued, the officer might need to seek further instructions from the Magistrate.

Q: What happens after the rescue?

A: The rescued person may be taken to a safe place and provided with necessary assistance. The Magistrate may then investigate the circumstances of the confinement and initiate legal action against those responsible.

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