5 May 2020 8:13 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a PIL filed by former police chief of Uttar Pradesh Vikram Singh seeking directions to quash FIRs registered for disobeying orders on lockdown and other petty offences during the Coronavirus crisis. A three-judge bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B R Gavai, refused to interfere with...
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a PIL filed by former police chief of Uttar Pradesh Vikram Singh seeking directions to quash FIRs registered for disobeying orders on lockdown and other petty offences during the Coronavirus crisis.
A three-judge bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B R Gavai, refused to interfere with the petition filed by former police officer, Vikram Singh.
"There can't be super government. Everyone is going through difficult times! We are wondering why such kind of petitions are coming to this court." - Supreme Court
The bench further questioned the petitioner as to how the lockdown is expected to be implemented if the provisions are not invoked. "You want there should be no FIR?" stated the bench.
The Petitioner argued, "This is a person who has been on the field. He has experience. The submission is this we cant have a rule of law which is selective. You can have one rule of law for those who have to travel by chartered flights.
In this backdrop, the bench considered it appropriate to dismiss the plea.
The plea filed by Dr. Vikram Singh, in capacity of think-tank Centre for Accountability and Systematic Change (CASC) stated that registration of First Information Reports under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code for alleged violations of lockdown guidelines are illegal and that the Magistrate could take cognizance of the offence only on the basis of a written complaint by a competent officer as per Section 195, the petition states.
While clarifying that the petitioner is not promoting the violation of lockdown, he added 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" - Singh's plea stated.
The petitioner also sought directions to the authorities under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 to state Governments to refrain from registering FIRs under Sections 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the IPC or other petty offences during the corona virus lockdown.
The petitioner, Dr Vikram Singh, also sought issuance of advisory to all Chief Secretaries of States and Administrators of Union Territories for non-filing of FIRs under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other petty offences during the pendency of this writ petition.
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" the plea noted.