THE MISUSE OF SECTION 144 OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE CODE

ABSTRACT

Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1973 (CCP) allows administrative judges of any state or territory to issue orders to prohibit the assembly of four or more individuals in a region. According to the law, all participants in such “unlawful assembly” are held accountable and booked for engaging in the riots. The Section 144 ruling is valid for a maximum of 2 months, but the state may extend this period from 2 to 6 months. Hundreds of Punjab and Haryana farmers have begun approaching the nation capital for a campaign in “Delhi Chalo” and are now stronger. At present post-Independent India colonial repression remains India’s favorite weapon to end nonviolent and legitimate protests after independence. Even in the pandemic, the idea of ​​regulations should not disappear. 

Keywords:-

  • Misuse
  • Assembly
  • Riot
  • Weapon
  • Democratic right

INTRODUCTION:- 

            Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973 (Crpc) allows administrative judges in any state or territory to issue an order to prohibit the assembly of four or more individuals in a region. By law, all members of such “unlawful assembly” are liable and booked for engaging in a riot. Section 144 applies in cases where urgent difficulties or dangers are recognized in connection with events that may cause problems or damage to people or property. Section 144 of the criminal procedure code usually prohibits public gatherings. An order under section 144 must meet the criteria of reasonable restrictions under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. In Manzur Hasan v Muhammad Zaman[1] elaborates the Principles that have to be borne in mind before using this section. Only the most pressing and urgent circumstances lead to detention as a result of serious unrest only will fall within the scope of section 144 . Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Crpc) allows states to take precautions to counter an impending threat to public peace. Judges should pass written orders that can be communicated to the general public who is residing in a particular place or visiting a specific person or visiting a specific location or region. In urgent cases, the judge can pass these orders without prior notice.[2]

    2011 Ramlila Maidan incident

 The Supreme Court faced undue police difficulties in enforcing Section 144, and in 2011, a crowd led by Baba Ramdev was expelled from the Ram Rila ground overnight. There are suspicions that section 144 was amended to ensure its proper implementation, but the court awarded compensation to the victims and claimed that the police violated constitutional rights.[3]

HISTORY OF SECTION 144:- 

In the past, section 144 has been used to impose restrictions to prevent protests that could lead to civil unrest or riots. Order on the application of Section 144 is issued to an executive judge in an emergency. Section 144 also restricts the carrying of any type of weapon in the area where the weapon is carried, and those who violate the rules of owning a weapon may be detained. The maximum fine for such an act is 3 years. Following the provisions of this section, there is no public movement, all educational institutions are also closed, and public meetings or general meetings are completely prohibited during the period of this order.[4]

The decision in section 144 is not valid for more than 2 months, but the state can extend the period from 2 months to 6 months. It can be withdrawn at any time when things work out and if the situation becomes normal. In the decades at some point of the British Raj, section 144 changed into often enforced to preempt and a crackdown on protests with the aid of freedom combatants. And, our elected elite, of each hue, has stored up this repressive British lifestyle.  

SECTION 144 – CANNOT BE USED TO PREVENT PEOPLE FROM EXERCISING THEIR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS:- 

Orders passed under section 144 have direct outcomes on the fundamental rights of the public and such strength, if utilized in a casual and cavalier way, would result in excessive illegality, the apex court said. Prohibitory orders remain used indiscriminately and all that stands between the government and the people in the judiciary. Section 144 has proved an effective tool to put down protests, ban people from assembling and put in force curfew-kind restrictions even in normal conditions for the authoritarian reason of thwarting residents from exercising their constitutional rights and freedoms. At present post-Independent India, this effective tool of colonial repression remains a weapon of preference for stopping non-violent demonstrations and lawful protests. Its indiscriminate use in blatant violation of the guidelines and situations for its use remains unchecked and for extended durations on the pretext of maintaining public order. [5]

Anuradha Bhasin Vs. Union of India[6]

Mobile and broadband services were discontinued in Jammu and Kashmir on August 4, 2019, before Article 370 of the Indian Constitution was repealed. Because of prevailing situations, the District Magistrate passed the order restricting the movement of the general public and public gatherings, apprehending breach of peace and tranquility under the section 144 of CrPC  The petition was filed by Anuradha Basin, editor-in-chief of the Kashmir Times. Ghulam Nabi Azad has filed a similar petition requesting the issuance of relevant documents for revocation, cancellation of orders, notices, orders or printings issued by the Government of India to terminate any form of communication. Besides, appropriate documentation is required to immediately reset all types of communications, including cellular, Internet, and wired services throughout the country. In this context, inside the supreme court, legality of internet shutdown and movement restrictions are challenged under Article 32. 

Hathras gang rape case- Section 144 imposed

Amid outrage over the alleged gang-rape and the death of a 19-year girl in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh police lodged an FIR (under section 153A) towards 200 people that held Panchayats in aid of the accused party.  In Hathras district management has imposed section 144  in the region and has banned the access of all other outsiders including media persons, in the Boolgarhi village in which the nineteen-year-antique Dalit girl was gang-raped and eventually died. Consistent with reports, the police charged 200 people for violating the Epidemic Act in addition to section 144, which was imposed by way of the government in Hathras.  The document states that Panchayathayat was detained by order of the former BJP MLA.[7]                    

FARMERS MARCH – DELHI CHALO:-

For decades, we have acknowledged that Indian agriculture desires to reform, and the continual distress that farmers face is a consequence of coverage frameworks that preserve them trapped in a cycle of low productivity, indebtedness, dependence on the monsoon, and ultimately on the government. [8]We knew that the systemic shackles that trapped Indian farmers needed to be damaged.  Farmers March, in the protests towards the anti-farm invoice protests throughout India, farmers from Punjab have gathered on the Haryana border to march towards Delhi to protest against the Centre’s three new farm laws. Hundreds of farmers from Punjab & Haryana have begun their move closer to the national capital for his or her ‘Delhi Chalo’ agitation and has now intensified. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dominated Haryana government has sealed all its access factors alongside the Punjab border and additionally imposed phase 144 in the state stopping the assembly of the protestors. The Delhi Police has additionally warned the protestors of legal movement in opposition to people going against the mandate of the Delhi Police.[9]

SUGGESTIONS AND CONCLUSION:-  

Freedom of peaceful assembly is a fundamental human freedom, protected by several international and regional human rights instruments. In systems and countries where the concept of coercive restrictions is considered naive or cryptic, orders under section 144 are used to restrict protests, block the Internet, and even block cable T.V. services. Compliance with an order under section 144 no longer gives the police the right to use violence. Depending on the circumstances, the police may use force to disperse “Unlawful Assembly”. In other cases, the system should be the same with a criminal penalty under the IPC. Currently, there is no shortage of “ministers and executor’s” and there is no reason to lose the authority of the legal leadership.[10] The legal force of respect depends on the use and respect shown by law enforcement agencies. The concept of regulations should not disappear even during a pandemic. 

REFERENCE:- 


[1] Manzur Hasan v Muhammad Zaman (1921) ILR 43 All 692 https://indiankanoon.org/doc/265287/

[2] Apurva Vishwanath, Shruti Dhapola, Explained: How Section 144 of Crpc works, The Indian Express (December 20, 2019 7:25:50am) https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/what-is-section-144-crpc-prohibitory-orders-india-caa-citizenship-act-6175056/

[3] Sarim Naved, Section 144 is not a cover for unchecked police action, The wire (December 24, 2019)

https://m-thewire-in.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/m.thewire.in/article/law/section-144

[4]Mumbai Mirror, Violating Section 144: What that means and what action police can take against you, Mirror Online (Mar 23, 2020, 21:48). https://www.google.com/amp/s/mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/coronavirus/news/violating-section-144

[5] PTI, Section 144 cannot be used to prevent exercise of democratic right, says SC, (Jan 10, 2020, 07:38 PM) https://m-economictimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/m.economictimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/section-144-cannot-be-used-to-prevent-exercise-of-democratic-right. 

[6] Anuradha Bhasin vs. union of India.,(2019) SCC online Sc 1725 (India) https://vidhi-org.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/vidhi.org

[7] Zee media bureau, Hathras gang-rape: FIR against 200 people for violating Section 144, holding panchayat in support of accused, (Oct 06, 2020, 11:43 AM IST,) https://zeenews-india-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/zeenews.india.com/india/hathras-gang-rape-fir-against-200-people-for-violating-section-144-holding-panchayats-in-support-of-ac

[8] Nitin Pai, Modi govt must sweat in Parliament to avoid bleeding on the street. Farmers’ protest shows why(1 December 2020) https://theprint-in.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/theprint.in/opinion/modi-govt-must-sweat-in-parliament-to-avoid-bleeding-on-street-farmers-protest-shows-why  

[9] Farmers’ Delhi Chalo march over farm bill reform intensifies; section 144 imposed in Haryana (26 Nov 2020) https://www-timesnownews-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.timesnownews.com/amp/videos/times-now/india/farmers-delhi-chalo-march-over-farm-bill-reform-intensifies-section-144-imposed-in-haryana

[10]K. Ramanujan, Amid Section 144 And Curfew, Rule of Law Should Not Decay In Times Of Pandemic (28 June 2020), https://www-outlookindia-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.outlookindia.com/website/amp/opinion-amid-section-144-and-curfew-rule-of-law-should-not-decay-in-times-of-pandemic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s