Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code is a prohibitory law which seeks to prevent any threat to public order and tranquility.
Who can pass orders to impose Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code –
- A District Magistrate; or
- A sub- divisional Magistrate; or
- Any other Executive Magistrate on especially empowered by the State Government to do so.
Important points –
- An order under this section may be directed to a particular individual, or to persons residing in a particular place or area, or to the public generally when frequenting or visiting a particular place or area.
- In urgent circumstances, the order under section 144 can be passed ex-parte i.e. without giving any notice to the person.
- No order under this section shall remain in force for more than two months from the date of making. However, if the State Government considers it necessary, it may, by notification, direct that an order made by a Magistrate under this section shall remain in force for a further period not exceeding six months from the date on which the order made by the Magistrate would have expired.
- The restriction could be imposed in a specific locality or in the entire town.
- Parliament Building Complex and the Supreme Court are among such areas where Section 144 is always in force.
Related Issues: –
Impact on Fundamental Rights – The administration is empowered under Section 144 to impose restrictions on the personal liberties of individuals. This means the fundamental right of peaceful assembly provided under Article 19 of the Constitution is curtailed by the administration if the executive magistrate finds the situation at any specified place presenting a potential to disturbance in law and order.
Chances of misuse of executive power – The defining aspect of imposing such a restriction is assessment of the situation by the district administration that it has the potential to cause unrest or danger to peace and tranquility in such an area due to certain disputes.
Once Section 144 of the CrPC is imposed in any area, all civilians are barred from carrying of weapons of any kind including lathis, sharp-edged metallic objects or firearms in public places. Police or other security personnel are the only ones allowed to carry weapons in areas placed under Section 144.
Restriction under Section 144 is different from curfew. In the areas where curfew is imposed, all public activity is barred. Civilian traffic is also stopped. Curfew warrants much graver situation posing bigger danger of rioting and violence.Restriction under Section 144 is different from curfew. In the areas where curfew is imposed, all public activity is barred. Civilian traffic is also stopped. Curfew warrants much graver situation posing bigger danger of rioting and violence.