Why Indian Police Officers Aren’t Allowed To Handcuff Prisoners

Arrests aren’t always made the way they’re portrayed in movies, with police throwing perpetrators to the ground and slapping handcuffs on them. In India, police have to have a justifiable reason for handcuffing a person, and must also obtain permission from a trial court beforehand. That’s because in India handcuffing is considered against basic human dignity, at least in the eyes of the Supreme Court. The judicial system ensures that the human rights of every person — whether accused or a convict — are protected. Under law, an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty, so handcuffing a person amounts to defiling his or her dignity. That’s why it’s common to see the police hand-in-hand or arm-in-arm with criminal suspects in India. In 1978, India’s highest court ruled that handcuffing people “puts to shame finer sensibilities and is a slur on our culture.” In India, a suspect must be presented before a magistrate’s court within 24 hours of being taken into custody, and the suspect can only be kept in custody based on the magistrate’s directions until a police charge sheet is filed.