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Breaking : Former UP DGP Moves SC To Quash FIRs Under Section 188 IPC For Lockdown Violations [Read Petition]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
16 April 2020 9:08 AM GMT
Breaking : Former UP DGP Moves SC To Quash FIRs Under Section 188 IPC For Lockdown Violations [Read Petition]
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Stating that registration of First Information Reports under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code for alleged violations of lockdown guidelines is illegal, Dr. Vikram Singh, former Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh, has approached the Supreme Court.The petitioner, in the capacity of Chairman of think-tank Centre for Accountability and Systematic Change (CASC), submits that as...

Stating that registration of First Information Reports under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code for alleged violations of lockdown guidelines is illegal, Dr. Vikram Singh, former Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh, has approached the Supreme Court.

The petitioner, in the capacity of Chairman of think-tank Centre for Accountability and Systematic Change (CASC), submits that as per provisions of S. 195 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ,and also many judicial precedents, no FIR can be registered u/s 188 IPC. The Magistrate can take cognizance of the offence only on the basis of a written complaint by a competent officer as per Section 195, the petition states.

"In the cases of lockdown violations, the machinery of criminal justice for offence punishable under Section 188, IPC has been set in motion by filing FIRs, instead of "complaint" before the magistrate, which is not permissible in view of the plain wordings of Section 195, Cr.P.C", argues the petitioner.

A police report submitted pursuant to a FIR will not come within the meaning of "complaint" under Section 2(d) of CrPC, points out the petitioner.

The lockdown guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs state that their violations will lead to offence under Section 188 IPC. This provision deals with the offence of "Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant". When the disobedience is concerning "danger to human life, health or safety...", the offence is punishable with simple or rigorous imprisonment which may extend up to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

As per research conducted by CASC, between 23 March 2020 and 13 April 2020, 848 FIRs under S. 188 IPC have been registered in 50 Police Stations of Delhi alone. As per Uttar Pradesh Government's own admission vide its Twitter handle, 15,378 FIRs under Section 188 have been registered in Uttar Pradesh against 48,503 persons. 

While clarifying that the petitioner is not promoting the violation of lockdown, he adds that "Police action on an individual who is perhaps suffering from distress and lack of information as a result of the circumstances has ramifications which can extend beyond the coronavirus lockdown, and cannot be good for a constitutional democracy".

"The situation needs to be handled humanely, and it will be best to avoid adding aspects of criminality, wherever possible", he says.

According to him, when the whole economy is going through India's biggest emergency, burdening up the criminal justice system with more cases is not going to help anyone.

The petitioner therefore states that registration of FIRs u/s 188 IPC is "grossly illegal and antithesis to Rule of Law, and violates Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution".  

"The Petitioner, who himself was the DG(P) of Uttar Pradesh understands the police functioning as well as the pain and suffering of those who are caught in the wheels of criminal justice system. The Petitioner is also concerned with the undue burden on police officers, who will have to do voluminous documentation in all such matters", states the petition

The petition seeks a writ in the nature of certiorari to quash the FIRs registered u/s 188 IPC, and for other petty offences during the corona crisis and violation of lockdown.

He also prays to direct the Union of India to issue directions under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 to the various State Governments to refrain from filing complaints / registering FIRs under S. 188 or other petty offences during the corona virus and lockdown.

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