The Use And Misuse Of Section 144 Cr.p.c

Uploaded: over 1 year ago; Last updated: over 1 year ago ; Date of Publication: 16-March-2023


January 2021 - January 2022


Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

At a time when the uses of Section 144 have morphed far beyond their old use as crowd and riot control mechanisms to becoming the basis of authorising CCTV surveillance or interdicting kite flying, there is a pressing need for research studies to interrogate when, how and how often, and for what purposes, are the powers under Section 144 being deployed in a city. This will determine whether the procedural safeguards, which served as a balm on the judicial conscience, are proving up to the onerous task of defending civil liberties. This report contributes to this gap and offers a ground-level analysis of how Section 144 is being used in Delhi, over a duration of one year.


Dataset - Delhi

We obtained over 6100 orders and examined nearly 5400 of these, that were all passed within the duration of 01.01.2021 to 01.01.2022. The RTI process entailed data collection at the district and sub-division level across Delhi. The total number of Section 144 orders passed (and provided to us) across each district varies – we received a copy of 28 orders passed by Central District, in contrast with 578 orders passed by Shahdara District.


Orders (Sample) passed under section 144 Crpc

Out of the approximately 5400 orders examined, we could identify 45 categories of orders that were being reissued across districts.


Total orders received per district

The number of 144 orders supplied by the PIO of the DCP office in each district. Notably, in most sub-divisions, the number of orders supplied is marginally lower than the number of orders noted during physical inspections. For example, in the Outer district, 431 orders were supplied to us whereas 533 orders were noted down upon inspecting the record and subsequently asked for.


Operational Experience

Challenges faced during data collection, progress till date and way forward.


Delhi Police Organisation Chart

Particulars of organization, functions and duties


RTI Responses Delhi

This is a zipped (compressed) file of all the responses received through RTI from the police stations of Delhi.


Research Report

In this report, we set out to understand the substance of Section 144 orders, the manner of obligations (positive obligations versus negative obligations) imposed, as well as the frequency of imposing such restrictions in Delhi. It contributes to what we identified as a serious gap in research on Section 144 by offering a ground-level analysis of how the provision is being used over a duration of one year, from 01.01.2021 to 01.01.2022, across Delhi. In all, we inspected over 6100 orders and received/examined nearly 5400 of these, passed in the year 2021 (the remaining approx. 600 orders were not provided to us citing the exemption under Section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act).