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Home Delivery of FIRs against lockdown violators in UP amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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The Uttar Pradesh Police in order to maintain social distancing amid COVID-19 has come up with an unusual idea of “home delivery of FIRs” against persons violating the lockdown order in the Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh.

Muzaffarnagar Senior Superintendent of Police Abhishek Yadav while addressing the people of Muzaffarnagar has said “despite our appeal to the people to stay indoors for the past 8 days, people have been seen roaming outside their houses. The entire country is under lockdown but people are violating the directions. Thousands of people are dying everyday across the world and the police officials were risking their lives to ensure safety of the public.”

SP Yadav further said that since people were not abiding by the directions of the Government the Muzaffarnagar police will be delivering FIRs at every doorstep. The process will begin with recording of videos as evidence and then registering FIR and delivering it at the doorstep of the offender. If the offender fails to accept the FIR then a notice will be put up outside his residence. Further if any person tries to destroy the notice, another FIR will be lodged against him.

Under normal circumstances an FIR is registered within the geographical limits of a Police Station where the crime took place, however in case of an emergency the Police is empowered to register an FIR in any other police station and thereafter transfer the case to the Police station within the local limits of which the crime took place.

In the present case the Uttar Pradesh Police is empowered to register an FIR not only under Section 188 of the Indian penal Code for Disobedience to order promulgated by Public Servant  but also under Section 51 (b) of the Disaster management Act which says —“Whoever, without reasonable cause refuses to comply with any direction given by or on behalf of the Central Government or the State Government or the National Executive Committee or the State Executive Committee or the District Authority under this Act, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both, and if such obstruction or refusal to comply with directions results in loss of lives or imminent danger thereof, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.”

-India Legal Bureau

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