WHEN CAN POLICE SEARCH HOME WITHOUT WARRANT?
Author : Eshika Singla
To understand the topic better let’s first discuss the meaning of term warrant. In layman’s language when any legal body or authority or say government issues a document thereby empowering police officers to arrest, search premises or property or carrying out any other action i.e. deemed to be necessary for imparting the justice or for administration of justice, such a document is called as ‘warrant’.
A warrant generally acts as justification for a particular course of action. Criminal Procedure Code of India contains other important aspects related to warrant.
Now let’s focus on our topic generally the cases where police can arrest without warrant are termed as ‘Cognizable cases or offence’ whereas on the other hand cases where a warrant is required are termed as ‘non-cognizable cases or offences’.
This difference in cases is well illuminated in schedule 1 of CrPC Act. We usually see that before entering a person’s home to either arrest him or to search home police must have warrant for the same but there are certain urgent cases where police can arrest or search home without warrant.
In this article we will try to discuss certain conditions or situation where such law in applicable.
GROUNDS ON WHICH POLICE CAN SEARCH WITHOUT WARRANT
A police officer has full authority to search your home or say premises without warrant. However, their exists certain grounds for it. In order to get a better view let’s discuss in detail-
- When there exists an evidence in relation to a case at your home and they have reasonable grounds for existence and believe that it needs to be taken away before it gets destroyed or lost. Such an evidence may relate to a highly serious offence.
- When there is a need to enter in the house at earliest possible because they are suspecting that person inside otherwise would be seriously injured. In such a case police have strong reasons to believe that a life threating situation exists inside the premises.
- Also instances where police officers are chasing a criminal from point of crime scene and the later enters someone’s house in such a case also police have full authority to search home without warrant.
- If a police officer needs to provide any kind of emergency aid to person inside the house.
- In case if police believe that there exists certain kind of evidence such as drugs, illegal medicines, illegal weapons that are relevant evidence for a case in such a situation also police have power to enter house without warrant.
- When an animal is in bad health due to injury or illness and police needs to help.
- If police receive a call from 911 in order to investigate about that police officer can enter without warrant.
- When a police officer has strong belief that something wrong is going to take place inside a premise then in order to prevent such a situation it can enter the house for protection of other person.
- In cases where domestic violence complaint is made by a person their police has full authority to protect that person and help them to safely collect there belongings even if it involves entering home without warrant.
- Further if owner of the house consent to such search then he himself eliminates the need of search warrant irrespective of the fact whether police officer carries warrant or not.
One should always keep this thing in mind that he should never be a party to consent, on the contrary ask the police why are they doing that what’s the purpose most importantly ask for an identification mark i.e. their identity cards or anything like that. Always keep this thing in mind that either the police can arrest without warrant but they must carry their ID’s with them at time of such investigation being made.
All these circumstances are some of the basic grounds where police officers have complete authority to enter home without warrant. It is very important that these grounds exist when ever a police officer arrest without warrant, otherwise owner of the house can file case for violation of ‘Right to Privacy’.
This is some basic legal information that a person must know for his greater good and protect himself from violation of his rights.