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Govt to scrap notification that made four offences under IPC non-bailable, cognizable

Introduced by British in 1933 to protect public servants, re-introduced in 2004

Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR | New Delhi |
January 27, 2016 1:17:33 am

The Delhi government is set to do away with a 2004 notification declaring four offences under the Indian Penal Code cognizable and non-bailable. This was first introduced during British rule in India.

According to sources, the government has decided that the notification — declaring offences of obstructing, disobeying and threatening a public servant and criminal intimidation cognizable and non-bailable — will cease to operate in Delhi.

In a note to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Home department said the notification issued by the former administration in Delhi was against Parliament’s democratic intention in granting “no undue advantage to public servants when dealing with public movements and civil society movements and agitations”.

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The department stated that the 83-year old notification was re-introduced in Delhi on March 31, 2004 — less than three months after the Delhi High Court had first held that the 1933 notification will cease to operate in Delhi from January 15, 2004.

The note stated that in 1932, the Criminal Law Amendment Act was enacted by the British government empowering state governments to convert certain offences from non-cognizable to cognizable and from bailable to non-bailable by issuing notifications in the Gazette. “Apparently, this was aimed to protect British public servants against public demonstrations etc. during the freedom struggle and civil disobedience movement etc against British empire,” the home department’s note stated.

It added that on January 11, 1933, JNG Johnson, the then chief commissioner, Delhi, declared that offences under section 186 (obstructing public servants in discharge of public function), 188 (disobedience of order of public servant), 189 (threat of injury to public servant) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC will be cognizable and sections 188 and 506 will be non-bailable.

“It was mysterious that the government in Delhi, after getting its own law department in 1993 and the Criminal Procedure Code being enacted in 1973, still relied on a the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1933, and maintained these offences to be cognizable and non-bailable, even 72 years after such a notification was first enforced,” said a government official.
This decision was again contested in the Delhi High Court in 2007 in the Rajeev Mehra vs State case. The impugned notification was stayed and pending before the court. After examining the file, the home department told the chief minister that there was a proposal to introduce a Bill in the Delhi Assembly for amending the CrPC to justify the 2004 notification.

The government, however, has informed the court, “The executive decision taken on March 31, 2004 to issue the fresh notification was apparently wrong as amendment to CrPC could have been carried out only by the Delhi Assembly. There is no need to enact any such amendment by Delhi Assembly to cover a wrong decision taken earlier.”

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