The power of the police relating to compelling a person to appear before it and relating to his interrogation are prescribed in Sections 160 and 161 of Cr.P.C. As per Section 160, any police officer who is conducting an investigation can ask the following persons to appear before him :
Who appears to be acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case, whether on the basis of any information received or otherwise. Only such person can be called by the police officer who is within the limits of his police station or the adjoining police station. However, the police officer can ask the person to appear, only through an order to that effect in writing. The person is not bound to appear on verbal direction of the police officer.
As can be seen, the power given to the police officer is very wide. If it appears to him that the person is acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case under investigation, he can order such person to appear before him and such person is bound to appear before him. However, there is an exemption in case of a woman and a male person under 15 years of age. Such persons can be interrogated only at their place of residence.
The State Govt. is empowered to frame rules directing the police officer to pay the reasonable expenses incurred by a person in appearing before him. Under Section 161, the police officer may ask questions from such person who is bound to truly answer all those questions which relate to the case.
However, he is not bound to answer those questions the answers to which might expose him to a criminal charge or to a penalty/forfeiture. The police officer may reduce into writing the verbal statement of the person. However, the person is not bound to sign it. Even if he is forced to sign it, he can retract this statement later on. It is also important to discuss here the powers of the police to arrest.
At times, it so happen that a person is called to the police station for asking some questions and he is arrested by the police there. Such arrest action is taken by the police officer by using the powers available to him under section 41 Cr.P.C. Under said Section, the police officer can arrest without an arrest warrant any of the following persons :
(a) who has been concerned in any cognizable offence, or
(b) a reasonable complaint has been made against him, or
(c) credible information has been received regarding his involvement in a cognizable offence, or
(d) a reasonable suspicion exists regarding his involvement in a cognizable offence The police officer usually resort to arresting the person called for interrogation by claiming that the officer has a reasonable suspicion regarding said person’s involvement in a cognizable office.