WILLIAMNAGAR : In view of the office picketing on July 2 and 3 in the office of the Deputy Commissioner in Williamnagar announced by certain NGOs, East Garo Hills District Magistrate Swapnil Tembe had promulgated Section 144 of the CrPC in the entire district with immediate effect prohibiting obstruction and disruption to functioning of government offices, carrying of lathis, sticks, stones, missiles, firearms or kind of lethal weapons by any person, group of persons or organizations. The official communique issued in this regard stated that such obstructions or intimidations are likely to lead to a breach of peace which may result in disturbance of public tranquillity leading to injury, lost of property, riot or affray. The official release further said that in case of violation of the order, the court may not only proceed under the Contempt of Courts Act, but is also directed that the State Government shall register criminal cases under the appropriate provisions of law.
Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1973 empowers an executive magistrate to prohibit an assembly of more than four persons in an area. According to 141-149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the maximum punishment for engaging in rioting is rigorous imprisonment for 3 years and/or fine. Every member of an unlawful assembly can be held responsible for a crime committed by the group. Obstructing an officer trying to disperse an unlawful assembly may attract further punishment.
In about 1861, Officer Raj-Ratna E.F. Deboo IPS was the designer and architect of section 144, which reduced overall crime in that time in the state of Baroda. He was recognized for his initiative and awarded a gold medal by the Maharaja Gaekwad of Baroda for putting Section 144 in place and reducing overall crime.