Representative image of Gujarat Police. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: President Droupadi Murmu has given her assent to the Bill passed by the Gujarat Assembly that empowers the police to register cases against persons who stage protests in violation of Section 144 (prohibits unlawful assembly) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), according to PTI.

Passed by the Gujarat legislative assembly in March 2022, ‘The Code of Criminal Procedure (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2021’ makes any violation of prohibitory orders under Section 144 a cognisable offence under Section 188 (disobedience to an order duly promulgated by a public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The said law amends Section 195 of the CrPC, which states that no court shall take cognisance of any criminal conspiracy for contempt of the lawful authority of public servants except on the complaint in writing of the public servant concerned.

In effect, police can register cases against those who protest without informing local courts in writing, which has been the case thus far.

As per the statement and objects of the Bill, the Gujarat government, police commissioners, district magistrates are vested with powers to issue prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC, directing any person to abstain from a certain act or to take a certain order to prevent disturbance of public tranquillity or a riot or an affray to maintain public order on various occasions.

The law acknowledges that police officers deployed on such duties encounter instances of violence requiring them to take appropriate legal action against the violators under Section 188 of the IPC.

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