Do’s and Dont’s of the Army

Last updated on Jun 15, 2022

As per the Supreme Court guidelines, there are certain acts which the army should do, and acts which are prohibited. These Supreme Court guidelines are as under:

What should the army do?

Before the Operation

  • The army should be carrying out the operations only in areas which are declared as ‘Disturbed Areas’.
  • Only an officer who is a JCO (Junior Commissioned Officer), WO (Warrant Officer) and NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) can open fire or arrest.
  • The army has to get information from local civil authorities, before conducting any raids or searches.
  • The army should try to keep a representative from the civil administration during such raids.

During the Operation

  • Open firing can be done only after due warning to the suspect.
  • The army has to make sure that the person(s) is acting in contravention of law and order. Only then can they open fire.
  • The army should arrest those who:
    • Have committed cognizable offences, or
    • Who are about to commit cognizable offences, or
    • Person(s) against which reasonable grounds exist to prove that they have committed or are about to commit cognizable offences.
  • The army should keep in mind the following directions:
    • The army should not harass innocent people.
    • The army should not destroy property of the public.
    • The army should not unnecessarily enter into houses of people who are not connected to any unlawful activities.
  • Women should not be arrested without the presence of female police. Women should only be searched by female police.

After the Operation

  • The army should make a list of persons arrested.
  • The persons arrested should be handed over to the nearest police station with least possible delay and a detailed police report should also be forwarded with the arrested to the police station.
  • If there any delays in handing over suspects to the police, then it must be justified by the army. The least possible delay must be 2-3 hours and it may be extended to 24 hours depending on the situation.
  • After a raid is done, a list of arms, ammunitions and other materials should be made and this should be handed over to the police station with the seizure memo.
  • The army has to make a record of the following:
    • Area where the operation is launched.
    • Date and time of the operation.
    • Persons participating in such raid.
    • Record of the commander and other officers/JCOs/NCOs forming part of the force.
  • Medical relief should be given to any person injured during an encounter and if the person dies, the body should be immediately handed over to the police.

While dealing with the Civil Court

  • All the directions given by the Supreme Court or the High Court should be followed.
  • If any army personnel is summoned by the Court:
    • The decorum must be maintained and proper respect must be paid to the Court.
    • Questions should be answered politely and with dignity.
  • Detailed record of the entire operation should be maintained. The information must be correct and clear.

What should the army not do?

  • A person should not be kept in custody for any period longer than required and should be handed over to the nearest police station.
  • No force should be used on a person arrested, except if they are trying to escape.
  • Third-degree methods, which are methods which cause pain and suffering, should not be used against those arrested or under suspicion to extract information or confessions out of them.
  • The armed forces should only arrest a person. They should not do any form of interrogation.
  • If any person has to be released, then it must be done through the civil authorities.
  • Official records should not be tampered with.
  • The armed forces cannot take back a person after they have been handed over to the civil police.

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