What is Section 144?
The Section 144 of the Indian Criminal Procedure Code prohibits assembly of four or more people and public movement in an area. It also prohibits civilians from carrying weapons of any kind, including lathis, sharp-edged metallic objects or firearms in public places.
Who has the power to impose Section 144?
Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1973 empowers an executive magistrate to issue orders in urgent cases of nuisance or apprehended danger.
Other Similar Sections
Section 129 of the CrPC grants Executive Magistrates and Police officers in charge of a police station and above the power to order dispersal of, disperse and cause to be dispersed any unlawful assembly.
Section 130 authorizes an Executive Magistrate to obtain the aid of the Armed Forces to disperse any such assembly.
Section 131 grants any Gazetted Officer of the Armed Forces the power to use his troops to disperse a manifestly dangerous assembly even without command from a Magistrate.
Different between Section 144 and Curfew?
A curfew orders people to stay indoors for a specific period of time where prior approval is required from the local police to step outside.
Section 144 Punishment
According to Sections 141-149 of the IPC, the maximum punishment for engaging in rioting is rigorous imprisonment for 3 years and/or fine. Every member of an unlawful assembly can be held responsible for a crime committed by the group. Obstructing an officer trying to disperse an unlawful assembly may attract further punishment.