The news of section 144 being imposed in Mumbai sent the residents of the city in a state of panic on Thursday.
As per the officials, prohibitory orders restricting the movement of people have been extended in Mumbai till September 30 in view of rising coronavirus cases.
Since then, social media has been flooded with memes and tweets of concern as to how the “newly imposed" rule would affect their movement in Mumbai. Google searches in the city have spiked to learn more about the “new" set of rules they may have to keep in mind going forward.
But as Cabinet Minister Aditya Thackeray stated in a tweet on Thursday, there is no need to panic.
Here is everything you need to know about the orders issued by officials on Thursday:
What is Section 144?
Any magistrate of a state or territory can impose the order of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1973 to stop the assembly of five or more persons in one place. The section is primarily imposed to prevent riots or assembly of people to prevent a situation that could harm citizens and poses a threat to property. In short, the public gathering is not allowed and is considered “unlawful assembly". Any violation is considered as a criminal offence.
How does Section 144 impact Mumbaikars?
The restrictions under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure are in place since lockdown began in Mumbai. They have only been extended as per the August 31 guidelines about easing of the lockdown of the Maharashtra government, and no new restrictions have been imposed, the official said on Thursday.
What is the new order issued?
The order prohibits “any presence or movement of one or more persons in public places, or gathering of any sort anywhere, including religious places subject to the conditions given."
“All movement of one or more persons in the areas designated as “Containment Zone" by the Municipal Authorities is prohibited, except for essential activities, supply of essential foods and medical emergencies," the order read.
Even outside the “containment zone" the “movement of one or more persons in the city is prohibited except for medical emergencies and for the following exempted entities".
What are the activities mentioned in the order?
1. Food, vegetables, milk supplies, ration and grocery stores
2. Hospitals, medicines, pharma and related establishments, pathology medical nursing colleges
3. Telephone and internet services
4. Electricity, petroleum oil and energy-related
5. Banking, stock exchange. Clearing corporation. depositories stockbrokers and SEBI registered participants operating through these institutions
6. IT and IT-enabled services and data centres
9. Services providing home delivery of food, groceries and essential commodities
10. E-commerce activity for essential and non-essential items and materials
11. Drinking water supply and maintenance
12. Godowns and warehousing related to all of the above.
13. Trucks/Tempos carrying goods and manpower related to the above services.
What did the officials say to diffuse the panic?
"There is no fresh lockdown/imposed by the Mumbai Police. Orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure have to be renewed periodically as per law, and this was done routinely on September 17. The Unlock 4.0 guidelines as per state government orders continue to remain in effect," the Mumbai police said in a statement.
“NO need to PANIC. The order issued under section 144 CrPC is only an extension of the previous order issued on 31st August.
No new restrictions have been imposed by @MumbaiPolice. Please share and don’t panic," Aditya Thackeray tweeted.
Following a spike in coronavirus cases in Maharashtra, state health minister Rajesh Tope said that the spurt can be attributed to the manner in which unlocking of restrictions had been implemented.
On Wednesday, the state’s total COVID-19 cases rose to 11,21,221 with 23,365 in just a single day and 474 deaths.
You can read the entire order issued here.