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SUPREME COURT TO HEAR PETITION ON DELHI VIOLENCE

Why in news?

  • Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde on Monday orally said courts were not “equipped” to handle palpable “pressure” being created to somehow step in and prevent violence in Delhi.
  • The observations came when a senior advocate made a mentioning before him to urgently intervene and pass directions to arrest those delivering hate speeches and to prevent the spread of violence.

What did the Petition seek? (Way Forward)

  • Amongst other things like seeking action against those delivering hate speeches and to prevent the spread of violence -The Petition also sought:
  • The setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) with officers from outside Delhi to probe the February riots in Delhi.
  • Setting up of an inquiry committee headed by a retired judge should probe the police persons involved.
  • Exemplary compensation to be granted to victims.
  • That the Centre should be directed to call in the Army if the law and order situation further deteriorates.
  • That the full list of persons detained by the police and paramilitary forces made public and CCTV footage of riot-affected areas preserved.
  • The immediate release of post-mortem reports to the victims’ families.

Provisions to reduce Violence:

Article 239 AA

  • The National Capital Territory of Delhi has been given with powers of law-making and administration to an elected legislature and the council of ministers. However, the law puts two subjects directly under the Union government that includes public order and police.
  • There are exceptions in this law which include the Sections 129 & 130 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
  • If a group is found in unlawful assembly under Section 129, the Executive Magistrate can issue orders to these persons to disperse.
  • If this fails, the magistrate can use the civil force which is the police.
  • If these efforts fail too, the Executive Magistrate under Section 130 can call an officer of the armed forces of the Union to disperse the assembly.
  • This section states that it can be invoked for “public security”.
  • Therefore, under these two limited powers, the Executive Magistrate (who reports to CM) can issue orders relating to public security.

Is the Provision for National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi different from that for States?

  • The public order and police are the subjects under the state list.
  • So, the state government may request the Union government to make available armed forces to help restore public order.
  • Even in circumstances where public disorder is not as serious as to fall in the category of an “internal disturbance” under the Article 355 of the Constitution, the Union Government may accede to the request.
  • Neither the state government nor any of its authority has been conferred by the Constitution any legal right to call the armed forces while dealing with a public disorder or “internal disturbance”.
  • The exception for this is Section 130 CrPC.
  • Also, the 7th Schedule of the Constitution states that use of the armed forces in the maintenance of public order is outside the states’ purview. [7th Schedule – Deals with the subject of public order in the state list.]

Section 130 of CrPC

Use of armed forces to disperse assembly.

(1) If any such assembly cannot be otherwise dispersed, and if it is necessary for the public security that it should be dispersed, the Executive Magistrate of the highest rank who is present may cause it to be dispersed by the armed forces.

(2) Such Magistrate may require any officer in command of any group of persons belonging to the armed forces to disperse the assembly with the help of the armed forces under his command, and to arrest and confine such persons forming part of it as the Magistrate may direct, or as it may be necessary to arrest and confine in order to disperse the assembly or to have them punished according to law.

(3) Every such officer of the armed forces shall obey such requisition in such manner as he thinks fit, but in so doing he shall use as little force, and do as little injury to person and property, as may be consistent with dispersing the assembly and arresting and detaining such persons.

CrPC

  • The Code of Criminal Procedure commonly called Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) is the main legislation on procedure for administration of substantive criminal law in India.
  • It was enacted in 1973 and came into force on 1 April 1974.
  • It provides the machinery for the investigation of crime, apprehension of suspected criminals, collection of evidence, determination of guilt or innocence of the accused person and the determination of punishment of the guilty.
  • It also deals with public nuisance, prevention of offences and maintenance of wife, child and parents.
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September 2022
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