Vigilance department probing if Delhi cops misused Section 188
Delhi police data accessed by HT shows that between March 23 and June 8, Delhi police registered 25,679 cases under section 188 . At least 25,000 people were also arrested in the same period and released on bail.Updated: Jun 16, 2020 02:31 IST
Did Delhi Police misuse Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code to harass people while enforcing the lockdown?
That’s what the department’s own vigilance cell seems to think according to a circular issued.
In the circular, a copy of which has been seen by HT, the cell asks all station house officers to “scrutinize arrests made or to be made” under Section 188 (the technical phrasing is “disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant”) and to “exercise provisions of the section judiciously”.
The lockdown lasted 68 days and ended on May 31 although some restrictions still continue.
Delhi police data accessed by HT shows that between March 23 and June 8, Delhi police registered 25,679 cases under section 188 . At least 25,000 people were also arrested in the same period and released on bail.
The data also shows that in the same period, police detained 3,97,836 people for violating lockdown under section 65 of the Delhi Police act (the technical phrasing is “persons bound to comply with the reasonable directions of police officer) and impounded 41,021 vehicles.
A police officer, who asked not to be named, said offences under section 188, in the current context, may lead to six months of imprisonment or Rs 1,000 fine or both.
In the circular dated May 28, the joint commissioner of police, vigilance, said that “many complaints have been received against police officials regarding misuse of section 188 during enforcement of lockdown guidelines. It has further been observed that section 188 is being misused sometimes as a tool for unnecessary harassment.”
The circular adds that the commissioner of police has taken “a serious view of this and directed that all station house officers shall scrutinize all arrests made or to be made in the FIRs registered under section 188 and ensure that the provision for arrest are exercised judiciously.”
Delhi police spokesperson, deputy commissioner of police MS Randhawa said the station house officers have been asked to monitor the situation at their level and ensure zero harassment to the public.
The police did not share the number of total complaints received against policemen misusing section 188 of the IPC.