Section 144 Current Affairs - 2020

What is the difference between lockdown, Curfew and Section 144?

With COVID-19 spreading in India, GoI has ruled curfew in some areas, Section-144 in some other areas and lock down in many other areas. These measures are being done to contain the spread of the virus.

Lock Down

The action is called Lock Down when there are restrictions on assembly. However, essential services are available in these situations. The Lock Down shall be enforced by a collector or the chief medical officer. The chief Medical Officer shall enforce Lock Down according to Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. With Lock Down being imposed five or more people are not allowed to assemble.

During Lock Down, the police has rights to arrest person and book him under Section 271 when he tries to escape from quarantine.

Section 144

The action is called Section 144, when the assembly of people are prohibited abiding to Indian Penal Code. Under Section 144, more than 5 people are not allowed to assemble.

Curfew

The action is called Curfew when Section 144 is imposed along with the shutdown of essential services. The Curfew powers lies with Collector and Police Commissioner.

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Supreme Court: Access to Internet-a fundamental right

On January 10, 2020, the Supreme Court of India said that Right of access to internet is a fundamental right. The Court had asked the administration of Jammu and Kashmir to review the curbs on internet in a week.

Lately the Indian Government had been using internet shut down as a tool to control protest in the country against the Citizenship Amendment Bill. It was predominant in the north eastern states.

Highlights

A three-member bench of the apex court heard on a batch of pleas against complete blockage of internet in Kashmir. Kashmir was shut out of internet for five months now, since abrogation of Article 370.

The bench pronounced that freedom of speech and expression and freedom to practice any business or trade over internet is constitutionally protected under Article 19 (1).

The judgement also read that Section 144 CrPC shall not be used to suppress freedom of speech and expression.

2016 UN Resolution

In 2016, the UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) released a resolution that condemned disruption of internet access by government. Before passing the resolution UN quoted that there were 15 internet shut downs in 2015 and 20 in 2017. The UN referred to internet ban in Turkey after terrorist attacks, internet shut down in India after local protests and internet blockage in Algeria.

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