Table of Contents
Who is a proclaimed offender or PO?
According to Section 82 of CrPC, a person who is accused of serious offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, if he fails to appear as per the requirements of the proclamation, the court can declare him a proclaimed offender after inquiring into the matter. The CrPC further provides that the declaration of him being a proclaimed offender will also be published in the same way a proclamation is published.
The definition of “proclaimed offender” or “PO” is provided in the Code of Criminal Procedure . A Proclaimed Offender is the person absconding from the court proceeding where the court announces the particular individual as a transmitted offender and guides the concerned law enforcement authorities to capture the individual named in the proceeding and make him stand under the watchful eye of the court. A proclaimed offender (PO) procedure is a judicial process by which the person is declared a criminal and instructs the police officers concerned to arrest the person named in the proceedings and to show them to the court. It is also directed that the name and details of the declared criminal be published in newspapers, declaring him or her a perpetrator.
If the accused does not appear in court after the bailable warrant has been issued, the court will issue a non-bailable warrant against the defendant under Section 70 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Under Section 70, the court orders the police and gives them the power to arrest the accused anytime, and anywhere.
- The declaration of the proclaimed offender means that any citizen of India can arrest the accused at any time and anywhere.
- The proclaimed offender’s passport is automatically confiscated so that the accused does not leave the country.
- If the accused was in government service at the time of the criminal declaration, they will be expelled, and if not, they will not be able to join any government position at any level in their life, even if they are declared a proclaimed offender for only one day.
Can Anticipatory Bail be given to a Proclaimed Offender or “po”?
The Supreme Court of India has stated in its various judgements that “ No Anticipatory Bail is to be given to a person who has been declared a Proclaimed Offender or PO by any court of competent jurisdiction.”
In the case of State of Madhya Pradesh vs. Pradeep Sharma (Crl) Appeal No. 2049 of 2013, Arising out of SLP (Crl) no. 4102 of 2013, the Hon’ble Supreme Court had held that:-
“If anyone is declared as an absconder/proclaimed offender in terms of Section 82 of the Code, he is not entitled to the relief of anticipatory bail.”
In the case of Hardev vs State of Punjab the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court had held that:-
When accused is declared PO in bailable offences than ordinary he should not be sent to Jail if he furnishes bail bond and surety bond.
What to do if a person has been declared a “PO”?
The first and the foremost thing to be done is to get the “PO” order quashed in the concerned High Court of competent jurisdiction. Applying for anticipatory bail is a futile exercise in this scenario as the High Courts are not inclined towards granting anticipatory bail in such cases.
It is advised not to straight away go for Quashing of FIR if a person has been declared a “PO”. Firstly file for the quashing of the “PO” order in the High Court and once the “PO” order has been quashed then one can file for the Quashing of the FIR.
The cases of false implication of the NRI’S are on the rise these days especially in the State of Punjab as it has been seen that NRI’s are often implicated in false cases by their relatives/enemies in order to grab their land/property. And the NRI’s out of fear or lack of the knowledge of law, instead of dealing with such situations with the help of legal expertise, choose to never return to India or participate in the legal proceedings. As a result many of them have been declared PO in the trial court proceedings.
It is thus imperative to understand that instead of running away from the court proceedings, one should fight for the truth and justice by filing for quashing of the “PO” order in the High Court and then filing for the quashing of the FIR.