Updated: March 31, 2021 7:20:23 pm
The Code of Criminal Procedure (Gujarat) Amendment Bill, 2021, which facilitates registration of criminal cases based on the information received from police officers, was passed in the Gujarat Assembly on Wednesday, even as the Congress opposed it stating the amendments will “stifle public protests” and “instil fear” of police action.
Tabling the Bill, Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said: “The Commissioners of Police and district magistrates are empowered to issue prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. The police officers deployed for enforcement of orders come across incidents of violations and need to take appropriate legal action against violations under Section 188 of Indian Penal Code, 1860. However, Section 195 of the CrPC makes it mandatory for public servant issuing such orders to be complainant against violators, thereby creating an impediment for taking cognizance of violations by police officers.”
The proposed amendments to provisions under CrPC section 195 is “necessary to facilitate registration of criminal cases based on information received from police officers regarding commission of cognizable offences under Section 174 A and 188 of IPC, 1860”, the minister said. The proposed amendment, Jadeja said, will fix the “loophole” and make the law become sharper.
Congress legislator, including Leader of the Opposition Paresh Dhanani, however, opposed the amendments saying these will further stifle protests against the government and its policies.
“On an average, Section 188 of IPC is imposed 300 days in a year. What impact does it have in the rights of common people? Due to this section, people find it difficult to go together to make a representation to the government. They can’t do dharnas (agitations). They can’t take out rallies. People have a right to highlight the shortcomings of the government and to protest in peace. These amendments will chain the people… If law becomes a weapon, we will oppose,” Dhanani said.
Congress MLA Virji Thummar, too, said the proposed amendments will create an environment of fear among those who want to protest against the government. “I will narrate an incident that happened recently here in Gandhinagar. Employees connected with mid-day meal scheme were protesting for their rights and they were rounded up under Section 188. If the law is further strengthened, no protests will happen,” he said.
Despite the objections from the opposition benches, the Bill was passed by a majority voice vote.
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