THE Karnataka High Court deserves compliments as it recently ruled that no individual, whether he be an accused in a case, an undertrial prisoner or a convict, can be handcuffed unless the reason for doing so is properly recorded in the case diary. The ruling was made by the court in effect of a cheque bounce case, involving a law student from Chikodi in Belgaum district who was handcuffed by the police. As per the directions of the SC, use of handcuffs by police is strictly prohibited in India, except when authorized by a court.
The indiscriminate resort to handcuffs when accused persons are taken to and from court and the expedient of forcing irons on prison inmates are illegal and should be stopped forthwith, save in a small category of cases.
Manacles cause emotional and mental distress on human beings and excoriate those who are made to wear them. Reckless handcuffing and chaining in public degrades the accused, puts to shame his finer sensibilities, and it is an obloquy and a slur on our culture.
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