New Delhi, May 25 : An unprecedented surge has been noticed in the number of FIRs registered during the lockdown period so far. However, arrests were made only in some hundred cases. The FIRs were related to lockdown violations.
The sections under which the maximum number of FIRs were registered are Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and Section 65-66 of the Delhi Police Act (All persons shall be bound to comply with the reasonable directions given by a police officer).
The numbers took a jump during the first phase of the lockdown, while at present when the fourth phase of lockdown is in force, nominal number of cases have been registered.
In Central Delhi, a total of 1,030 cases were registered till May 23 under Section 188 since the lockdown begun. On May 23 in 24 hours, only seven cases were registered under this section.
On the other hand, 34,130 cases were registered under Section 65 of the Delhi Police Act. However, on May 23, only 114 cases were registered in 24 hours.
The number of cases has witnessed a significant decline. On this, West Zone Joint Commissioner of Police Shalini Singh said: "These incidents were related to lockdown violations. People were not aware initially what action could be initiated over them. But now that people have come to know about it, they are themselves refraining from violating norms." According to the data released by the Delhi Police on May 24, a total of 1,364 people were detained and released subsequently in 24 hours under Section 65 of the Delhi Police Act. This number was between 3,000 to 4,000 during the initial days. Also, cases registered for not wearing masks were only four in a day while during the first three phases of the lockdown, this number was touching the 200 mark.
"Before the outbreak of the corona pandemic, the police were using Section 188 against the landlords who were not getting their tenants verified. During the lockdown, maximum cases were registered under this section. Actually, section 188 ensures the implementation of any special order by the government that has a provision of jail term from one to six months," said Patiala House court's senior advocate Shailendra.
When asked why the ratio of arrests is very low, the advocate replied that this a bailable offence. However, the offender has to appear in court after the issuance of the notice and further action is taken only if the allegation is proved.
(Sanjeev Kumar Singh Chauhan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)