Asking a cop to identify himself is not obstructing him, rules court

The High Court has ruled that the Police Regulations 1952 were clear that police officers or constables must reveal their identity before performing their duties.

SHAH ALAM: The High Court here today ruled that asking a policeman to show his authority card is not tantamount to preventing the officer from carrying out his duty.

Judge Mohd Yazid Mustafa, who concurred with the submission of lawyer Jeyaseelan Anthony, said the Police Regulations 1952 were clear that police officers or constables must reveal their identity before performing their duties.

“One cannot be said to have committed the offence (obstructing a civil servant from carrying out his duty) just because a member of the public had requested for the authority card of a policeman,” the judge said in dismissing the prosecution’s appeal.

Last year, the Kajang magistrate’s court acquitted C Prevan Chandran, 36, without calling for his defence, saying it was merely a “misunderstanding”.

Lawyer Jeyaseelan Anthony

Prevan was charged with obstructing the policeman under Section 186 of the Penal Code. Those found guilty can be jailed up to two years or fined up to RM10,000 or both.

Anthony, in his submission, said regulation 26 (of the Police Regulations 1952) stated that a policeman must not conceal his identity as a public servant.

“Further, regulation 39 says a request by a member of the public to show the authority card of any policeman who is sloven, unattentive or uncivil is a reasonable request and cannot be refused,” he added.

The lawyer said even a plainclothes policeman was obliged to reveal that he was a public servant before discharging his duty.

“A policeman’s authority as a public servant is derived from the authority card,” he added.

In support of his argument, Anthony cited law academician professor Dr Sir Hari Singh Gour, who in a commentary on the Indian Penal Code (which is similar to Malaysia’s), had stated that policemen must reveal their identity even without being asked to do so by anyone.

According to the facts in Prevan’s case, he was standing in front of a temple in Taman Rakan Kajang about 8.15am on May 3, 2018 when a patrol car with two policemen stopped him.

One of the policemen asked Prevan to produce his identity card but he instead asked the policemen to show his authority card.

After a brief argument, the policemen left but a report was lodged against Prevan.

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