Monday, May 27

‘Reasons For Arrest’ Vs ‘Grounds Of Arrest’: What The Supreme Court Says

Edited by Aishwarya Krishnan

Following the order to release NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha, the Supreme Court stressed that for an arrest to be considered legal, the accused must be informed of the grounds of the arrest. The court also added that an illegal arrest and remand order will not be validated simply because a chargesheet has been filed.

The Court outlined a clear distinction between “reasons for arrest” and “grounds of arrest.” As stated in the arrest memo, the ‘reasons for arrest’ are more general in nature and are “purely formal parameters” to prevent the accused from committing further offences, for the investigation of the offence, to prevent the accused from tampering with evidence, threatening or forcing people involved in a case from revealing facts to the authorities.

On the other hand, ‘Grounds of Arrest’ are more personal to the accused. It includes all the basic facts about the grounds of arrest in writing to give them an opportunity to defend themselves against custodial remand and to seek bail.


Purkayastha’s arrest was deemed invalid by the top court after it was observed that a remand order was passed around 6 am, before the accused or his lawyers were informed of the grounds of the arrest. The court noted that arresting without providing a copy of the remand application to the accused violated the principles of natural justice.

The court also observed that the right to be informed about the grounds of the arrest flows from Article 22(1) of the Constitution of India. Any breach of the fundamental right would vitiate the arrest and remand. It added that filing a charge sheet cannot validate it either.

“Mere fact that a charge sheet has been filed in the matter, would not validate the illegality and unconstitutionality committed at the time of arresting the accused and the grant of initial police custody remand to the accused.,” stated Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta as quoted by LiveLaw.

When contended with a case of preventive detention under Article 22(5), where grounds of arrest are not required to be given in writing, the court cited its judgement in Harikisan v. State of Maharashtra and Others., 962 SCC OnLine SC 117. Therein, the top court held that the communication of the grounds of detention to the accused must be given in writing and in a language that the accused understands.