Brief Analysis Of Section 144 Of Code of Criminal Procedure.
Updated: Jan 18
While India is fighting with CAA Protests and Delhi riots, COVID-19 knocked on the door in the form of a pandemic. As the number of COVID cases has been increasing in India, the government decided to impose Section 144 of CrPC till 31 March. Section 144 is imposed due to the riot, loot, violent protests, stone-pelting, etc. in any area or city. This section is a notification issued by the District Magistrate and prohibits the assembly of five or more people in that particular area. A restriction is also placed on carrying any kind of weapon in that area and any person who violates it can get arrested. The utmost punishment for violating section 144 is three years. Also, it is given that deterring police from disassembling an unlawful assembly is a punishable offense. This section also provides power to the authorities to block internet access. In several places, the government has imposed Section 144 of the CrPC for public safety and to minimize the threat of COVID-19 because of its contagious spread.
Background of section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)
Enacted in 1973, It is imposed in a given region in cases of emergencies or nuisance that has the potential to damage human lives. Under this section, there cannot be any public movement and all educational institutions in the imposed area must remain closed. Doing any public meeting or conducting any sort of rallies in that area are banned during the period when section 144 is imposed. There is no doubt that the main purpose of Section 144 is to maintain peace and order, the safety of public health where trouble cab disrupts the regular life. To deal with emergencies under the Criminal Procedure Code, more powers have been conferred on an Executive Magistrate. One such provision deals with his powers to impose limitations on the Individual's freedoms, whether in a particular region, locality, and town or where the situation has a probability to cause unrest, peace or danger, etc.
Duration of Section 144 of the CrPC order
As per the law, no order under this section shall continue in force for more than two months from the making thereof. To avoid a threat to human life, health, or safety or from any riot or an affray, the state government can decide if essential and according to the circumstance choose to extend the validity for two more months with the maximum validity extendable to six months. When the situation becomes, back to normal, it can be revoked.
How Section 144 differs from a curfew?
Curfew orders are subject to worse deterioration in any location. People have to stay in the house for a specific time. It is supposed to be very effective in handling any kind of violent circumstance. At the same time, the orders of curfew can be for a specific group or the general public. It constrains any outdoor activity without the prior permission of the police. The establishments such as markets, schools, colleges, etc. are sanctioned to remain shut, and only necessary services are permitted to run. Curfew, like Section 144, is also an order granted by the District Magistrate. There is a complete restriction on traffic during this period. It can be said that a curfew is an extended version of Section 144 of CrPC. The time aspect for the curfew is significant. However, the authorities can also extend the curfew if required.
Section 144 of CrPC normally restricts public gathering, on the other hand, curfew orders people to stay indoors for a specific duration. Therefore, the officials can impose a curfew for a specific time. However, the authorities can extend the duration of curfew if needed. Most importantly, if you want to go out of your house during the curfew, you need prior permission from the local police. Also, we can say that Section 144 of CrPC bars mob gatherings but it does not regulate it. A curfew is a larger action taken to control the serious situation. You need approvals to move out in a curfew.
Restrictions during Curfew
No person can do hunger-strike, without the approval of any qualified authority.
No person can walk with any kind of tool, or any kind of deadly weapon, firearms, etc.
Carrying licensed weapons is not permitted at the office.
Prohibits playing or selling firecrackers.
Speech or publicity that hurts the emotions of any community or culture is also restricted.
the restriction is placed on the usage of loudspeakers and DJs without prior approval.
More than 5 people cannot be gathered at a distance of two hundred yards from the examination center.
Bringing any kind of arms and ammunition at the marriage functions is strictly prohibited.
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Edited By: Swathi. Ashok. Nair.
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