The Allahabad High Court has advised the Police authorities to desist from taking coercive action and rather spread awareness regarding adversities of lockdown violation.
"In our opinion, it would be more advisable to create awareness and consciousness amongst people rather than putting them in jails or lock ups which are already over crowded," the bench comprised by Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh observed.
The court was hearing a petition, seeking quashing of FIR dated May 4, 2020, filed against Munna and six others, for violating the lockdown restrictions. The accused had been booked under Sections 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of IPC by the Agra Police.
The court observed that the only allegation against the Petitioners was that they gathered in a public place in violation of the social distancing protocol however, there was no allegation of any "untoward incident" having occurred.
In view of the above the bench said,
"There is no doubt that the denizens of the city are under obligation to follow the protocol of social distancing in collective fight of the country with pandemic Covid-19. It is the responsibility of each and every person to be aware of the protocol and see that others follow it strictly. However, in our opinion restraining these persons who for some reason violated the protocol of social distancing may further aggravate the Corona crisis."
The court noted that the Petitioners had allegedly gathered for distribution to food packets amongst the poor persons in the locality and during the course of such distribution suddenly some people collected on the spot. Even the petitioners made all efforts to disburse them, the court noted.
Considering the above, the court ordered that the Petitioners will not be arrested in the aforesaid case till submission of the police report.
The court was further of the opinion that the Petitioners should be granted one opportunity to "mend themselves".
It therefore ordered that each of the Petitioners "shall file an undertaking before the Senior Superintendent of Police, Agra stating that they will follow all norms and protocol of Covid-19 and will not breach them in future. The Senior Superintendent of Police, Agra shall do the needful considering the undertaking given by the petitioners herein."
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