Legal Analysis on House Arrest and Detention Orders

Explore a comprehensive legal analysis on house arrest and detention orders in a recent court judgment. The focus is on the court’s examination of the legality and jurisdiction of detention orders, emphasizing the fundamental right to personal liberty and the stringent scrutiny required in the remand process. Stay tuned for insights into the judicial nature of remand and the compliance with constitutional rights.


  • The accused Gautam Pratap Navlakha was arrested on 28.08.2018 at 15 pm at Kalkaji, Delhi.
  • He was arrested in connection with a case FIR registered at PS Vishrambagh, Pune, Maharashtra.
  • The Writ Petition filed pertained to alleged high-handed action of Maharashtra Police and the arrest of five Activists including the appellant on 28.08.2018.
  • During house arrest, the appellant could only meet his lawyers and ordinary residents of the house.
  • Transit Remand Order was stayed, indicating the appellant was not under police detention for investigation at that time.
  • The Transit Remand for the accused was granted till 30.08.2018 for further investigation.
  • An Appeal challenging an Order was filed before the High Court of Bombay on 12.07.2020.
  • NIA filed a charge-sheet against the appellant on 09.10.2020.
  • A writ petition was disposed of with liberty for the accused to pursue appropriate legal remedies.
  • The High Court ordered the appellant to be kept under house arrest with two guards outside the house.
  • The Appeal filed under the NIA Act was dismissed by the High Court of Bombay.
  • The transit remand application was passed by the CMM Saket, but the High Court of Delhi prevented it from taking effect.
  • The appellant was protected from arrest during the pendency of the Writ Petition.
  • A charge-sheet was filed against the appellant’s co-accused on 15.11.2018.
  • A supplementary charge-sheet was filed against the co-accused on 21.02.2019.
  • The interim order granted on 29-8-2018 continued for four weeks.
  • The investigating officer was permitted to proceed against the accused according to the law.
  • The Court held that the appellant couldn’t claim the benefit of default bail as there was no authorized detention by a Magistrate’s order.
  • The appellant surrendered to the NIA Delhi on 14/04/2020.
  • The High Court stayed the transit remand and eventually set it aside.
  • The house arrest order was in place based on the High Court’s order.
  • The appellant’s detention was deemed illegal by the High Court.
  • Translations of documents were requested by the Court for better understanding of the case.
  • Further remand of seven days was ordered on 21.04.2020.
  • The High Court of Delhi quashed the appellant’s arrest for being illegal.
  • The Court directed translations to be provided for all documents.
  • The High Court placed the appellant under house arrest based on its interim order.

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  • The crucial question to be answered is whether the High Court of Delhi was exercising power under Section 167 when it ordered house arrest.
  • The respondents were produced before the High Court itself for suitable orders on the 26th and again on the 27th, indicating possible involvement of Section 167 of the Cr.P.C.
  • The judgment of the learned Judges directing the release of the respondents was criticized for lacking justification.

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  • The appellant contested the contention that access to the police for interrogation during the remand period is not a requirement under Section 167 of the CrPC.
  • It was argued that there was no stay of investigation, and the police could have accessed the appellant during the 30 days of interrogation or investigation, but they did not.
  • The court referred to the decision in Chaganti Satyanarayan & Ors. v. State of Andhra Pradesh to support the view that the 90-day period begins from the date of remand and not from an earlier date when the accused was taken into custody.
  • Emphasized that it is within the Magistrate’s authority to grant judicial custody from the first day of remand, where the police do not have access to the accused.
  • Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi submitted that Gautam Navalakha and Sudha Bharadwaj were kept under house arrest as per High Court order.
  • Requested Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, and Vernon Gonsalves, if arrested, to be kept under house arrest at their own homes as an interim measure.
  • Solicitor General argued that the High Court should not have interfered in the matter and the order was illegal.
  • Nithya Ramakrishnan contended that the order was correct and should not be interfered with.
  • The accused surrendered on 14.04.2020, making the petitions irrelevant.
  • The appellant in an anticipatory bail plea sought protection through his pleadings.
  • Written submissions argued that the second proviso to Section 43(2)(D) of UAPA nullifies a precedent in UAPA cases, allowing custody to be sought at any time even from judicial custody.
  • Affidavit requirement in terms of the proviso is necessary only when custody is taken by the police from judicial custody.

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  • Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure allows for the detention of an accused in police custody under specific circumstances.
  • The Magistrate can authorize the detention of the accused in police custody for a maximum period of fifteen days in total.
  • The Magistrate has the discretion to extend the period of detention in certain cases if satisfied with the progress of the investigation.
  • If the investigation cannot be completed within the specified period, the court may extend the detention up to a maximum of one hundred and eighty days.
  • The Court has the authority to issue orders of remand to different forms of custody based on its assessment of the situation.
  • The Court emphasized that a writ of habeas corpus should not be entertained if a person is committed to custody by a competent court order that does not appear to be without jurisdiction, passed in a mechanical manner, or is wholly illegal.
  • House arrests have been utilized in India in the context of preventive detention, following the principles similar to community control techniques applied in other countries.
  • The judgment highlighted that detention must be supported by the fulfillment of rights outlined in Article 22(1) and 22(2), ensuring the detainee is informed of the grounds of arrest and provided with legal consultation.
  • The Court specified that under Section 167 of the Cr.P.C., a Magistrate must only authorize the custody of an accused with the police during the initial 15 days from the date of remand.
  • The analysis included the detailed consideration of the duty of a police officer in registering an FIR within a stipulated time frame as discussed in the Lalita Kumari case.
  • The importance of legal authorization and order from the Magistrate for detention was emphasized in the context of default bail entitlement.
  • The judgment further highlighted the necessity for detention to be lawful and in accordance with constitutional rights, with strict scrutiny on the order of remand by the Magistrate.
  • House arrest was discussed as an intensive supervision approach used as an intermediate penal sanction, allowing offenders to remain at their residence under specific conditions.
  • The judgment delved into the concept of deprivation of liberty and the essential requirements for lawful detention as per legal provisions.
  • There was a focus on the distinction between mere restrictions on movement and deprivation of liberty, with an emphasis on the need for stringent scrutiny on the legality of arrest and detention orders.
  • The judgment also elaborated on the conditions and considerations surrounding house arrest as an alternative to incarceration, especially in cases following a conviction.
  • The role of the Magistrate in authorizing detention and the judicial nature of the remand process were highlighted, emphasizing the need for legality and jurisdiction in the detention orders.
  • The judgment reiterated the fundamental right to personal liberty and the obligation of the state to uphold this cherished value with minimal interference except as sanctioned by law.
  • Section 167 of the CrPC is the only law that supports house arrest
  • The house arrest of the appellant was not under Section 167 and cannot be treated as passed thereunder
  • The High Court could not have ordered the detention of the appellant without the authority of the law
  • The appeal was dismissed as the house arrest was not under Section 167


  • The appellant acquiesced in the police custody commencing from 15.04.2020 after surrendering on 14.04.2020.
  • An Order dated 29.08.2018 was captured, emphasizing that the 90-day period would commence on 15.04.2020 following the law laid down in Chaganti Satyanarayana case.
  • An accused under UAPA may be sent to judicial custody, police custody, or granted bail after undergoing police custody for 5 days.
  • The writ petition filed by the appellant was dismissed with no order as to costs, despite producing a remand report seeking police custody on 15.04.2020.
  • The accused approached the High Court under Section 439 of the Cr.P.C., which resulted in the court reversing the order and granting bail.
  • The order granting bail was challenged before the Apex Court, leading to the said order being set aside, and the accused being released on bail as per the High Court’s order.
  • The original order passed by the Magistrate was revived, and it was assumed that the High Court had modified the order of remand, which was later reversed by the Apex Court.


Case Number: Crl.A. No.-000510-000510 / 2021

Click here to read/download original judgement

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