Duties of Public to Assist Magistrate and Police under section 37 of the Code of Criminal Procedure

Section 37 of the Code of Criminal Procedure makes it the duty of every person to assist a Magistrate or Police, when reasonably called to do—

(a) For preventing the escape of any other person whom such Magistrate or Police Officer is authorised to arrest; or

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(b) For preventing or suppressing a breach of the peace; or

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(c) Preventing an injury attempted to be committed to any railway, canal, telegraph or other public property.

The word “reasonably” used in the section indicates that no person is bound to obey an unreasonable order of a Magistrate or Police Officer. Thus, in one case, when a Magistrate ordered a landlord to find a clue to a theft within 15 days, it was held that such order was unreasonable and unwarranted by this section, as the landlord was not bound to perform an act for which the police are appointed and paid. Disobedience to such an order would, therefore, not be an offence. (Bakshi Ram,—3 All. 201)

Similarly, when a warrant is directed to a person other than a Police Officer, any other person may aid in the execution of such a warrant, if the person executing the warrant is near at hand. (S. 38)


It will be noticed that while S. 37 casts an obligation on every person, the duty under S. 38 is one which is optional.


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