After a man in Jabalpur triggered outrage online by refusing to accept food from a Muslim delivery person, police have started the process to obtain a legally binding promise from him that he would not do anything that might lead to breach of peace. Once the man, Amit Shukla of Jabalpur, signs the bond, police will watch his activities over the next six months. They will take him into custody if he violates his promise.
The provision for a bond
The notice for the serving of the bond has been issued under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, under a provision commonly known as “Section 107/116”.
Section 107 CrPC deals with “security for keeping the peace”, and says: “When an Executive Magistrate receives information that any person is likely to commit a breach of the peace or disturb the public tranquillity or to do any wrongful act that may probably occasion a breach of the peace or disturb the public tranquillity and is of opinion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding, he may… require such person to show cause why he should not be ordered to execute a bond, with or without sureties, for keeping the peace for such period, not exceeding one year, as the Magistrate thinks fit.”
Section 116 CrPC refers to “Inquiry as to truth of information”, and empowers the Magistrate to inquire into the truth of information on the basis of which action has been taken against a person who has been brought before him. Upon completion of the inquiry, the Magistrate may “direct the person… to execute a bond, with or without sureties, for keeping the peace or maintaining good behaviour until the conclusion of the inquiry, and may detain him in custody until such bond is executed or, in default of execution, until the inquiry is concluded…”
Reason for the action
Shukla had complained that Zomato, the app-based food delivery company, had “allocated a non-Hindu rider” to deliver his order. He had told Zomato that “I don’t need a delivery from a Muslim fellow”, and when asked to pay a fee for cancelling his order, threatened the company with legal action.
Zomato had retorted on Twitter, “Food does not have a religion. It is a religion”, and its CEO, Deepinder Goyal, had tweeted, “We are proud of the idea of India — and the diversity of our esteemed customers and partners. We aren’t sorry to lose any business that comes in the way of our values.”
Jabalpur Superintendent of Police Amit Singh told The Indian Express that Shukla’s tweet was against the spirit of the Constitution.
In case of default
Should Shukla do anything contrary to his commitment in the bond, police can take action against him under Section 122 CrPC. This section, which deals with “Imprisonment in default of security”, empowers the Magistrate to “order that the person be arrested and detained in prison until the expiry of the period of the bond”.