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Why Rahul & Priyanka Gandhi were arrested — the laws they broke in their march to Hathras

Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi were arrested Thursday afternoon after UP Police blocked their march to Hathras.

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New Delhi: Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were arrested Thursday as they walked towards Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras.

They were on their way to meet the family of a 20-year-old Dalit woman who died from injuries sustained in an alleged gang rape.

There was pandemonium on the Yamuna Expressway as the UP Police blocked the Congress convoy, after which the leaders decided to continue their journey on foot.

In the melee that saw Rahul Gandhi being pushed to the ground, the police arrested the leaders under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.

ThePrint explains the laws under which both the Gandhis were arrested and what these legal provisions encompass.

Also read: Hathras woman’s family says they know what would have saved her — ‘being a Pandit or Thakur’

Section 144

The Congress leaders were arrested for violating Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, which affords the power to issue orders in urgent cases of apprehended danger or nuisance.

The Executive Magistrate of an area is empowered to issue an order to prohibit the assembly of four or more persons in an area. Any member of such an ‘unlawful assembly’ will be charged for engaging in rioting.

Section 144 was in force at the Yamuna Expressway where Rahul and Priyanka had assembled with party workers, thus violating this law.

This law is usually invoked to avoid a crowd or gathering and covers the jurisdiction of an entire area and has been invoked in the past to prevent protests that can lead to unrest or a breakdown of law and order.

Section 144 of the CrPC cannot remain in force for more than two months. However, if the state administration considers it necessary, it can extend the duration for a period not exceeding six months from the date of the original order.

The maximum punishment for violating Section 144 of the CrPC is 3 years in jail.

When told that he was being arrested under Section 144 of the CrPC, Rahul Gandhi said, “I do not want a public assembly,” and added that he would go to Hathras alone.

Section 144 has also been imposed in Hathras district with its borders sealed. The UP administration imposed the prohibitory orders to ensure law and order as protests over the alleged gang rape picked up.

Also read: Woman ‘gang-raped’ in Balrampur thrashed, her capillaries ruptured — postmortem report

Section 188

The UP Police also arrested Rahul Gandhi under Section 188 of the IPC.

This section kicks when there is disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant. According to the law, anyone who knowingly disobeys such an order can be punished with simple imprisonment for a period upto one month and/or be fined upto Rs 200.

If the disobedience causes or has the potential to cause danger to human life, health or safety, the offender can be punished for a term of upto six months imprisonment and/or fined Rs 1,000.

This provision of the law clarifies that it is not necessary that the person disobeying the order intended to cause harm or contemplated whether his/her disobedience will cause harm. It is sufficient that he/she knows of the order they are disobeying.

Also read: Told Hathras DM to cremate body in the morning but he didn’t listen, BJP MP says


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  1. Good opportunity for congress to make political capital at the expense of poor dalit girl. also opportunity to train 5th generation Gandhi-Vadra to rule India. Hope all the rapists are arrested alive or dead soonest.

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