14 May, 2021

Halt The Arrest-Happy

Questions about the Tomar case, questions of liberty

Halt The Arrest-Happy

In my opinion, the arrest of Jitender Singh Tomar, Delhi’s law minister who has now resigned, was totally illegal. I’d like to clarify here that I do not know Tomar and have no personal interest in the case. In the past, I’ve been critical of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), to which Tomar belongs, and its leader Arvind Kejriwal; but I certainly object to Tomar’s arrest, and am writing this column to raise an important question relating to personal liberty, guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The charge against Tomar is that he obtained a fake law degree from the Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University in Bihar. His graduation degree, from the Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University, Faizabad, is also suspect. But even if the degrees were fake, does that justify Tomar’s arrest? To answer this, we must know the legal position.

In the Joginder Kumar v/s State of Uttar Pradesh case (air 1994, SC 1349), the Supreme Court observed: “No arrest can be made because it is lawful for the police officer to do so. The existence of the...

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