Why is Section 144 of the Cr.P.C. often known as Curfew imposed ? is often the question which comes in our mind when we here it on the news, it is often imposed in anticipation of an untoward incident to avoid public gatherings in order to protect and preserve the public order.
The Restrictions thus help the Administration to prevent a law and order situation.
● Section 144 of the Cr.P.C. is an executive power vested in the officers of the state so concerned, and can be exercised by such officers under valid circumstances by a written order.
● Section 144 can be imposed not only when the present circumstances so indicate but also in anticipation of such future occurrence of violence or public disorder.
Reason for Imposition
In order to maintain public order such section is imposed in the case of Ram Manohar Lohia Vs. it was held by the Supreme Court that when two drunkards quarrel and fight, there is `disorder’ but not `public disorder’. They can be dealt with under the powers to maintain `law and order’ but cannot be detained on the ground that they were disturbing `public order’. However, where the two persons fighting were of rival communities and one of them tried to raise communal passions, the problem is still one of `law and order’ but it raises the apprehension of public disorder. The main distinction is that where it affects the community or public at large, it will be an issue relatable to `public order’. Section 144 Cr.P.C. empowers passing of such order in the interest of public order equitable to public safety and tranquility.
In order to protect and preserve the interests of the public such restrictions as found necessary by the administration are imposed, it can undisputedly be stated that Section 144 Cr.P.C. is a power to be exercised by the specified authority to prevent disturbance of public order, tranquility and harmony by taking immediate steps and when desirable, to take such preventive measures. (Ramlila Maidan Incidents Vs. Home Secretary)
● All Decisions of authorities which are in question can be checked for its constitutionality, firstly by checking the provisions in any act or rule or notification for the decision in question.
● Secondly the authority should have the right conferred by law to make such action.
● In Babu Lal Parate Vs. State of Maharashtra, The Supreme Court held That the contention raised on behalf of the union of workers that the order passed in anticipation by the Magistrate under Section 144 Cr.P.C. was an encroachment on their rights under Articles 19(1)(a) and 19(1)(b), it was held that the provisions of the Section, which commit the power in this regard to a Magistrate belonging to any of the classes referred to therein cannot be regarded as unreasonable. While examining the law in force in the United States, the Court further held that an anticipatory action of the kind permissible under Section 144 Cr.P.C. is not impermissible within the ambit of clauses (2) and (3) of Article 19 Public order has to be maintained at all times, particularly prior to any event and, therefore, it is competent for the legislature to pass a law permitting the appropriate authority to take anticipatory action or to place anticipatory restrictions upon particular kind of acts in an emergency for the purpose of maintaining public order
- The provisions of Section 144 sub section (4) provides that such order of restrictions shall be in effect for not more than 2 months however, the State Government may increase the duration of such order to 6 months in order to maintain the peace and tranquillity and for the protection of human life and public property.
- It is to be noted that disobedience of such order is a punishable offence under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.
- The provisions of this section are enacted by an order to that effect by the concerned District Magistrate or Commissioner of Police or any such officer of the Police as assigned by the Statute.
- Section 144 or in other words Curfew is Imposed by the order and the said order also states the time from which the curfew comes into force and till when will the said curfew continue.
- The order implementing Curfew also describes the services which shall be allowed to remain open in the times when S.144 is implemented.