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The President signs a bill in Gujarat that provides police the authority to take action against demonstrators.

Officials said Wednesday that the President had approved a measure from Gujarat that facilitates the registration of criminal proceedings against protesters who violate Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The State Assembly enacted the Code of Criminal Procedure (Gujarat Amendment) Bill 2021 in March of last year.

The bill seeks to make any breach of Section 144 CrPC prohibitory orders a cognisable offence under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (disobedience to an order duly promulgated by a public servant).

It changes Section 195 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which stipulates that no court shall take cognisance of a criminal conspiracy for disrespecting the lawful authority of public workers unless the public servant concerned has filed a written complaint.

According to a home ministry official, the President has approved the Code of Criminal Procedure (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2021.

According to the bill’s statement and purposes, the Gujarat government, police commissioners, and district magistrates are authorised to issue prohibitory orders under CrPC Section 144, directing any person to refrain from a specific act or to take a particular action to maintain public order on a variety of occasions.

Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code requires police officers to take appropriate legal action against anyone who violates the law when performing such tasks.

However, Section 195 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973 mandates that the public servant issuing such orders must also be the complainant against the violators, posing an obstacle to taking cognisance of infractions… According to the statement and objects, section 195 (1) (a) (ii) of the Criminal Procedure Code prevents the jurisdictional courts from taking cognisance of the offences absent a written complaint from the affected public official.

The maximum penalty under Section 188 of the IPC is six months in jail.



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