Section 42 CrPC: Arrest on Refusal to Give Name and Residence

The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) serves as the backbone of criminal law in India, outlining the procedures for the administration of criminal justice. Among its various sections, Section 42 stands out due to its specific mandate on arrests related to the refusal to provide personal information. This section empowers law enforcement officers to arrest individuals who refuse to give their name and residence when required.

section 42 crpc

Section 42 has its roots deeply embedded in the need for maintaining law and order. Historically, this provision was introduced to aid police in identifying and apprehending individuals who might pose a threat to public safety. Understanding its historical context helps in appreciating its significance in the modern legal landscape.

Bare Act. Section 42 Cr.P.C.
Arrest on refusal to give name and residence.

(1) When any person who, in the presence of a police officer, has committed or has been accused of committing a non-cognizable offence refuses, on demand of such officer, to give his name and residence or gives a name or residence which such officer has reason to believe to be false, he may be arrested by such officer in order that his name or residence may be ascertained.
(2) When the true name and residence of such person have been ascertained, he shall be released on his executing a bond, with or without sureties, to appear before a Magistrate if so required:
Provided that, if such person is not resident in India, the bond shall be secured by a surety or sureties resident in India.
(3) Should the true name and residence of such person not be ascertained within twenty-four hours from the time of arrest or should he fail to execute the bond, or, if so required, to furnish sufficient sureties, he shall forthwith be forwarded to the nearest Magistrate having jurisdiction.

The Legal Framework

The primary purpose of Section 42 CrPC is to ensure that law enforcement can maintain order and security. It mandates that if a person, when asked by a police officer, refuses to provide their name and address, or gives a name or address that the officer has reason to believe is false, they can be arrested without a warrant. This provision is designed to prevent individuals from evading the law by withholding or falsifying their identity.

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Key provisions of Section 42 include:

  • The authority to arrest without a warrant.
  • The requirement for the individual to provide correct personal details.
  • The responsibility of the officer to inform the individual of the grounds for arrest.

Comparatively, other jurisdictions may have similar laws, but the extent and manner of enforcement can vary significantly. In many countries, refusal to provide identification can lead to temporary detention but not necessarily arrest. This highlights the unique position of Section 42 in the Indian legal system.

Arrest on Refusal to Give Name and Residence

When delving into Section 42, it’s crucial to understand the procedures and rights involved. The scope of this section covers situations where an individual’s refusal to provide personal information could hinder the police’s ability to perform their duties effectively.

Definition and Scope: The section applies to any individual who refuses to disclose their identity or provides false information. This refusal must occur in a situation where the police have a legitimate reason to ask for such information, usually during an investigation or when suspicious activity is detected.

Procedures: Upon refusal, the police officer can arrest the individual without a warrant. The officer must then inform the individual of the grounds for their arrest and take them into custody. It is the officer’s duty to verify the information given and, if necessary, detain the individual until their identity is confirmed.

Rights of the Individual: Individuals arrested under Section 42 have specific rights, including the right to be informed of the grounds for their arrest and the right to legal counsel. They must also be presented before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest.

Responsibilities of Law Enforcement: Police officers are tasked with ensuring that arrests under Section 42 are conducted lawfully and that individuals’ rights are protected. This includes not using excessive force and respecting the legal procedures set out in the CrPC.

Implications and Consequences

The enforcement of Section 42 carries significant legal and social implications. Legally, it underscores the importance of identity verification in maintaining public safety. However, it also raises concerns about civil liberties and potential misuse.

Legal Consequences: Failure to comply with Section 42 can lead to arrest and subsequent legal proceedings. Individuals may face charges for obstructing justice or other related offenses, depending on the circumstances of their refusal.

Impact on Civil Liberties: This section has sparked debates about the balance between security and personal freedom. Critics argue that it can lead to arbitrary arrests and abuse of power by law enforcement. On the other hand, proponents emphasize its necessity for effective policing and crime prevention.

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Case Studies: Numerous case studies highlight the application of Section 42. For instance, instances where individuals were arrested for refusing to provide their details during routine checks, leading to further legal battles and discussions on the section’s implications.

Safeguards and Rights

To address concerns and ensure fair application, several safeguards are in place. The judiciary plays a crucial role in interpreting and overseeing the implementation of Section 42. Courts have consistently emphasized the need for police to act within the bounds of the law and respect individual rights.

Legal Protections: Various legal protections ensure that individuals are not unjustly treated under Section 42. This includes the right to be informed of the reason for arrest and the right to legal representation. Additionally, the police are required to follow strict procedures to prevent misuse of this provision.

Role of Judiciary: The judiciary acts as a watchdog, ensuring that the enforcement of Section 42 does not infringe upon fundamental rights. Judicial oversight helps maintain a balance between the necessity of law enforcement and the protection of civil liberties.

Recourse for Citizens: Citizens who feel their rights have been violated under Section 42 can seek legal recourse. This includes filing complaints against wrongful arrests and seeking redress through the courts.

Challenges and Criticisms

Despite its intended purpose, Section 42 faces several challenges and criticisms. Critics argue that the section can be prone to misuse, leading to arbitrary arrests and harassment.

Common Criticisms: One of the main criticisms is that Section 42 can be used to target vulnerable populations, such as the homeless or marginalized communities, who may not have readily available identification. This can result in unfair treatment and discrimination.

Potential for Abuse: The potential for abuse exists when police officers use Section 42 to arrest individuals without sufficient cause. Ensuring accountability and transparency in the enforcement of this section is essential to prevent such abuses.

Balancing Security and Freedom: The challenge lies in balancing the need for security with the protection of individual freedoms. While Section 42 aims to enhance public safety, it must be applied judiciously to avoid infringing on personal liberties.

Practical Application

In practical terms, Section 42 is applied in various scenarios, from routine traffic stops to more complex investigations. Understanding these real-world applications helps in grasping the section’s relevance and challenges.

Real-World Scenarios: Examples of Section 42 in action include police checks at roadblocks, during public events, or in response to suspicious behavior. In these situations, officers may request personal information to verify identities and ensure public safety.

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Role of Technology: Advancements in technology have also influenced the application of Section 42. Digital identification systems and databases help streamline the process of verifying identities, reducing the need for physical documentation.

Law Enforcement Training: Training law enforcement officers on the correct application of Section 42 is crucial. This includes understanding the legal boundaries, respecting individual rights, and using discretion when making arrests.

Future Directions

The legal landscape is constantly evolving, and Section 42 is no exception. Proposed reforms and ongoing debates shape the future application of this provision.

Proposed Reforms: Various legal experts and civil rights advocates have proposed reforms to Section 42 to address concerns about misuse and to strengthen safeguards. These reforms aim to enhance transparency and accountability in its enforcement.

Evolving Legal Interpretations: Court rulings and legal interpretations continue to shape how Section 42 is understood and applied. These interpretations help clarify the boundaries and provide guidance on its enforcement.

Advocacy and Activism: Civil society plays a vital role in advocating for the fair application of Section 42. Activists and organizations work to raise awareness, provide legal assistance, and push for reforms to protect individual rights.


In summary, Section 42 CrPC serves a critical function in the Indian legal system, allowing for the arrest of individuals who refuse to provide their name and residence. While it is a necessary tool for law enforcement, its application must be balanced with the protection of civil liberties. Ongoing reforms, judicial oversight, and advocacy efforts are essential to ensure that this section is applied fairly and justly.

Frequently Asked Questions

It was introduced to help law enforcement maintain public safety by ensuring they can identify individuals who might pose a threat.

Individuals have the right to be informed of the grounds for their arrest, the right to legal counsel, and must be presented before a magistrate within 24 hours.

Yes, there is potential for misuse, leading to arbitrary arrests. Ensuring transparency and accountability in its enforcement is crucial.

The judiciary ensures that the section is applied within legal boundaries and protects individual rights through judicial oversight and interpretations.

Proposed reforms aim to enhance transparency, accountability, and safeguards to prevent misuse and protect civil liberties.