The declaration of nationwide lockdown till 14th of April in view of outbreak of pandemic COVID-19 has led to many confined to their homes and also the person(s) engaged in providing essential services.
The local administration across states has developed a system of issuing emergency passes so as to cause less trouble to people. Though, one has to provide a genuine emergency reason before obtaining a pass. These passes are either issued by the state governments or by local police officers differing from state to state. In some states such as Delhi and Haryana the respective governments have created online portals whereby the people can apply for an e-pass along with their valid identity cards for travel during the curfew, but also has options to seek help for food and ration.
It is noteworthy that the passes will be provided only in case of unavoidable and important cases. One has to mention the purpose of his travel, and have an ID proof to justify why their travel is required during this lockdown. Similarly, in Maharashtra the Special Inspector General of Police (Spl. IGP) has issued to all police units in the state authorising the Superintendent of Police (SP) and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) them to issue inter-district travel passes to citizens who are in need. Moreover, persons who wish to travel outside the state will have to Contact DGP’s office in Mumbai as the state government has sealed borders to avoid spreading of COVID-19.
Today, Maharashtra Government was left red faced when one of its IPS officer had issued emergency pass to Wadhwan brothers to travel from Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar. The brothers are accused of Rs. 7000 crore scam and had non bailable warrants issued against them by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate. Such an attempt by the IPS officer is against the very purpose for which the system of emergency passes has been put in place.
Though, on legal & technical grounds one may argue that the non bailable warrants were obtained by the agencies of central government and the state police was not bound to arrest the person as they had no authority or direction given by Court. But, then as Supreme Court in case of Daroga Singh vs. B. K. Pandey, (2004) 5 SCC 26 has held that the judiciary does not have any mechanism to enforce its orders on their own. The police being the executive authority of the state have to come in aid of the court orders to maintain rule of law.
-India Legal Bureau