Arrest in Court

Usman Khan Yousafzai, in his article ‘On the matter of court arrests’, published in the portal, has criticised Imran Khan”s arrest in the Islamabad High Court

But is arrest by the police in a court building illegal ?

Mr Yousafzai writes in his article :

” Our sister country, India, declared that arrests on court premises are illegal and should be avoided by arresting authorities, and this was held by the Madras High Court as well as the Allahabad High Court. The reasoning behind such censure is that court premises are the domain of the judicature, wherein the individuals of Pakistan can seek justice and feel safe as they are protected under the shadow of law. The act of arrest is a violation of this separation by the executive and commands fear among the populace, that even within the protection of the courts, they could be arrested and the courts would only watch ”.

I have read both the orders referred to by Mr Yousafzai. Neither the Madras High Court nor the Allahabad High Court mention which specific law is violated by the police arresting in a court building.

If it is said that some act is illegal, it must be pointed out which section of which statute is violated by that act. Merely saying that arrest in court is improper does not make it illegal, as I have explained in this article :

Mr Yousafzai calls arrests in court illegal by saying that ” court premises are the domain of the judicature ”. Does that mean that court premises are a foreign territory where the police of a country cannot go, even if a suspected serial murderer, gang rapist or bank robber is present there ? Which law says that ?

At most it could be said this would be improper, but something improper is not necessarily something illegal.

There is an interesting historical account to explain the difference.

One day Sir Thomas More ( 1478-1535 ), then Lord Chancellor of England, was taking a walk on a street of London with his daughter Margaret.

When Margaret saw a man running on the street, she called out to her father ” Father, get that man arrested ”.

” Why ? ” asked Sir Thomas.

” Because he is a bad man ” replied Margaret.

” But which law has he broken ? ” enquired Sir Thomas.

” He has broken the law of God ” said Margaret.

” Then let God arrest him ” Sir Thomas responded. ” I only arrest a person who has broken a law made by Parliament ”.


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