Useful Notes on Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure

An order under S. 144 may be directed to a particular individual, or to persons residing in a particular area or place or to the public generally when frequenting or visiting a particular place or area.

However, no such order can remain in force for more than two months from the date of the order. But, if the State Government considers it necessary to do so for preventing danger to human life, health, safety, etc., it may, by notification, direct that the Magistrate’s order should remain in force for such further period, not exceeding six months, as may be specified in such notification.

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Either on his own motion or on the application of an aggrieved person, the Magistrate may rescind or alter any order made by himself, or his predecessor-in-office or by any subordinate Magistrate. Similarly, an order for extension made by the State Government (as above) may also be rescinded or altered by it, either on its own motion or on the application of any aggrieved person.

Where an application for altering or rescinding an order is received, the Magistrate (or the State Government, as the case may be) must afford to the applicant an early opportunity of appearing, either in person or through a pleader, to show cause against the order. !f the application is rejected wholly or in part, the reasons for so doing must be recorded in writing by the Magistrate or the State Government, as the case may be.

The Supreme Court has stressed that an order under S. 144 is intended to meet an emergency; it cannot be permanent in character. (Acharya Jagdishwaranand v. Commr. of Police, Calcutta, 1983 Cr. L.J. 1872)

Specimen Order:

The following is a specimen of a Magistrate’s Order to prevent obstruction, riot, etc., under S. 144 of the Code:

To

(Name, description and address).

WHEREAS it has been made to appear to me that you are in possession (or have the management) of (describe clearly the property), and that, in digging a drain on the said land, you are about to throw or place a portion of the earth and stones dug-up upon the adjoining public road, so as to occasion risk of obstruction to persons using the road;

I do hereby order you not to place or permit to be placed any of the earth or stones dug from land on any part of the said road;

Or

WHEREAS it has been made to appear to me that you and a number of other persons (mention the class of persons) are about to meet and proceed in a procession along the public street, etc. (as the case may be) and that such procession is likely to lead to riot or an affray;

I do hereby prohibit the procession passing along the said street, and strictly warn and enjoin you not to take any part in such procession (or as the case may require).

Dated, this 10th day of April, 20….

(Seal of the Court)

(Signature)

Under S. 144-A (inserted by the 2005 Amendment), the District Magistrate is empowered to prohibit carrying of arms in procession or mass drill or mass training with arms, whenever he considers it necessary to do so for the preservation of public peace or for the maintenance of public order. Such an order can be directed to a particular person or to persons belonging to any community or party or organisation.

Although such an order can be made for a maximum period of three months, the State Government is empowered to extend the same for a further period not exceeding six months.