GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The administration of Uttarakhand’s Haridwar district imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code Of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973 in an area upto 5 km around a village called Dada Jalalpur near the town of Roorkee. Section 144 was invoked after the Supreme Court during a mahapanchayat that had been planned in the village on 27 April 2022.

What is Section 144 of the CrPC

  1. This colonial-era law, which has been retained in the Code, empowers a district magistrate, a sub-divisional magistrate, or any other executive magistrate empowered by the state government, to issue orders to prevent and address urgent cases of apprehended danger or nuisance.
  2. The written order by the officer may be directed against an individual or individuals residing in a particular area, or to the public at large.
  3. In urgent cases, the magistrate can pass the order without giving prior notice to the individual targeted in the order.
  4. The provision allows the magistrate to direct any person to abstain from a certain act, or to pass an order with respect to a certain property in the possession or under the management of that person.
  5. This usually means restrictions on movement, carrying arms, and unlawful assembly. It is generally understood that an assembly of three or more people is prohibited under Section 144.
  6. Orders passed under Section 144 remain in force for two months, unless the state government considers it necessary to extend it. But in any case, the total period for which the order is in force cannot be more than six months.