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May 27, 2024

Daily Legal Current Affairs for PCS (J) Judiciary 27 May 24 : Maharashtra’s Akola city imposes Section 144 (CrPC):

Why in News ?  Over the past two days, Akola has been the hottest city in Maharashtra, with temperatures exceeding 45 degrees Celsius, as per the India Meteorological Department (IMD) data.

The City administration has imposed  Section 144 of CrPC to prohibt the public gathering.

About  Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC):

It empowers Executive Magistrates in India to issue orders to maintain public order in urgent cases.

What it allows:

  • Prohibiting gatherings: Magistrates can restrict assembly of four or more people in a specific area to prevent riots or disturbances.
  • Imposing restrictions: Orders can limit activities like carrying weapons, using loudspeakers, or holding protests in a particular area.

Key features:

Temporary: Orders under Section 144 are valid for a maximum of two months, extendable by the state government to a maximum of six months.

Directed at: Orders can be directed towards specific individuals, a group of people in a locality, or the general public in a designated area.

Emergency situations: It’s typically used in urgent situations to prevent imminent danger to public peace or safety.

Related sections:

Section 130: Empowers magistrates to prevent cognizable offenses (serious crimes).

Section 133: Deals with removal of public nuisances.

Section 151: Allows magistrates to take action to prevent disturbance of public tranquility.

 Other Important Points:

  • Section 144 has been criticized for being broad and potentially infringing on fundamental rights like freedom of assembly.
  •  Courts have upheld its constitutionality as long as restrictions are “reasonable” and necessary to maintain public order.

Case law

Case: Simon and Ors. v. State (Madras High Court-2022)

Ruling:  This case highlights the balance between public order and freedom of expression.

  • The court held that public assembling and demonstrating against police actions wouldn’t be considered an offense unless a prohibitory order under Section 144 of CrPC is in place.
  • This emphasizes that peaceful protests cannot be curtailed simply by invoking Section 144.






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