What is the difference between Curfew and Section 144 of CrPC?
Some or the other day we came across the news that violent protests took place in an area and curfew is imposed. When a group of people gather together with an intention to disturb the public tranquillity, such type of gathering or assembly is known as unlawful group. And to prevent such type of gatherings or assemblies, Section 144 of CrPC and curfew provisions are used.
What is Section 144 of CrPC?
Due to riot, loot, violent protests, stone pelting etc. in any area or city, Section 144 of CrPC is imposed. This is a notification issued by the District Magistrate. It prohibits the assembly of five or more people in an area. There is also restriction on carrying any sort of weapon in that area. People can also be arrested for violating it. Let us tell you that according to the law, every member of such "unlawful assembly" can be booked for "engaging in rioting". The maximum punishment for such an act is three years. Also, it is mentioned that obstructing police from breaking up an unlawful assembly is a punishable offence. This section also empowers the authorities to block the internet access.
What is the Curfew?
Curfew orders, on the other hand, are subject to worse deterioration in any location or city. People have to stay in the house for a specific time or period. It is believed that it can be very helpful in handling any kind of violent situation. At the same time, let us tell you that the orders of curfew can be for a specific group or for the general public.
It restricts any outdoor activity without the prior approval of the police. Establishments such as markets, schools, colleges, etc. are ordered to remain shut, and only essential services are allowed to run. Curfew is also an order issued by the District Magistrate. There is a complete restriction on traffic at this time. It will not be wrong to say that the curfew is an extended form of Section 144. Time element for the curfew is important. However, the authorities can also extend the curfew if needed.
Does Section 144 means Curfew?
No, they are not same. Section 144 of CrPC generally prohibits public gathering. And on the other hand, curfew, orders people to stay indoors for a specific time. Therefore, the officials can impose curfew for a certain time. Time is very important in this. However, the authorities can extend the period of curfew if required. Most importantly, if you want to go out from your house during the curfew, you need prior approval from the local police.
Also we can say that, Section 144 of CrPC bars mob gatherings but it does not control it. A curfew is a larger action taken to control the grave situation. You need permissions to move out in a curfew.
Restrictions during Curfew
- No person can do hunger-strike, without the permission of any competent authority.
- It is not imposed on examinees, marriage ceremonies, cremation and religious festivals.
- No person can walk with any sort of tool, or any type of fatal weapon, firearms etc.
- Even to carry licensed weapons are not allowed at the office.
- It also prevents playing or selling firecrackers.
- Even speech or advertisement that hurts the feelings of any community-culture is also prohibited.
- There is a restriction on the use of loudspeakers, DJs without prior permission.
- Five or more people cannot be assembled at a distance of two hundred yards from the examination centre.
- Even in marriages to carry any type of arms and ammunition are banned.
Now you may have come to know about the main difference between Section 144 of CrPC and Curfew. But people many times use these terms interchangeably.