Why in news?
The Supreme Court on 6th May dismissed a petition filed by a former Director-General of Police of Uttar Pradesh to quash FIRs registered against ordinary citizens for violating the COVID-19 lockdown.
Arguments for the quashing of Section 188 IPC:
- According to the Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change (CASC) data: 848 FIRs were filed between March 23 and April 13 under Section 188 of the IPC (disobedience of an order promulgated by a public servant) in 50 police stations in Delhi alone.
- Another report: 15,378 FIRs were registered in Uttar Pradesh against 48,503 persons under Section 188 IPC.
- Hence, a really large number of cases to be processed.
- In addition, there is the argument that there were several judgments of the Supreme Court itself that FIRs cannot be registered under Section 188 IPC.
- 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.
- There is also the concern of the undue burden on police officers, who will have to do voluminous documentation in all such matters
What is section 188 of IPC?
The violation of Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) attracts jail term of one month or fine up to Rs 200, or both and if the disobedience causes danger to human life, health or safety, the person can be punished with 6-month jail term and a fine of Rs 1,000 or both.