Section 144 of CrPC & its Provisions
Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) is used to prohibit assemblies of four or more individuals. It is also used to order mobile phone companies to block voice or Internet communications in one or more areas. With protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act all across the country, Section 144 has been imposed to curb protests.
Section 144 empowers the district magistrate, sub-divisional magistrate or any executive magistrate empowered by the state government on its behalf to issue orders and address cases of potential danger. No order passed under Section 144 can remain in force for more than two months from the date of the order. It can be extended by the State government but not for more than six months.
Section 144 and its issues
The term of apprehended danger or nuisance is too broad enough to give absolute power to a magistrate. The immediate remedy against such an order is an application to the magistrate. An aggrieved person can approach the Hight court via filing a writ petition if his fundamental rights are at stake, however there are fears that before the court intervenes, the rights have already been infringed upon.
Courts ruling on Section 144
The SC held that no democracy can exist if public order is allowed to be disturbed by a section of citizens. In Madhu Limaye vs Sub-Divisional magistrate case 1970, the court upheld the constitutional validity of the section 144. It said that the imposition of Section 144 falls under the reasonable restrictions under Article 19(2) of the Constitution.