AS police in Pune are taking stricter measures to enforce the lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, a court in Baramati on Wednesday sentenced three persons to three days in jail after they were booked for violating the lockdown.
Police in all three jurisdictions in Pune district — Pune City, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Pune Rural — have started registering offences under Indian Penal Code Section 188 against those who violate the lockdown. The section, which pertains to ‘disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant’, attracts a jail term of up to six months and a fine.
Officials from all three units have said action against offenders will become more strigent as it will become more crucial, with time, to enforce the lockdown to achieve social distancing. Along with filing offences under IPC Section 188, police are also issuing notices to violators and in some cases, also impounding vehicles being used for non-emergency and non-essential purposes.
Superintendent of Police for Pune Rural, Sandeep Patil, said, “Since the beginning of the lockdown, we have booked 215 persons under IPC Section 188. On Wednesday, a court in Baramati sentenced three persons booked in this way to imprisonment of three days and a fine of Rs 500. We want to say this sentencing will send a message among people and make them abide by the lockdown norms… the risk of one person violating a lockdown can be way more serious and widespread.”
Police officials have said this was arguably the first conviction in the state in which jail term has been awarded for violation of the lockdown.
Deputy Superintendent of Police for Baramati, Narayan Shirgaonkar, said, “Three persons from Baramati and surrounding areas — aged 32, 38 and 39 — have been sentenced to three days’ jail time, along with a fine. While this may seem like a small punishment, it does have serious repercussions. This conviction means that these people won’t be eligible for passports, any permits or won’t even be able to apply for government jobs. We request people to take the lockdown seriously and leave their houses only for essential or emergency purposes.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime), Bachchan Singh, said ,”From March 22 till 31, we have booked 1,087 persons under section 188 of IPC and seized 650 vehicles. Those booked include people who kept their establishments open in spite of being non-essential or non-emergency, and those using vehicles without any valid reason. We are intensifying these actions as we want to achieve maximum possible compliance of the lockdown. We have established a separate cell which is entertaining requests for exemptions, which are being granted only in exceptional cases.”
The cell, established by Pune City Police, has till now received nearly 1.09 lakh requests, of which over 34,000 have been granted permissions. These people include persons involved in essential services or emergency care.
Between March 20 and April 1, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Police have booked 993 persons for violation of the lockdown
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