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Daily News Analysis

Explained: What are ‘chapter proceedings’, initiated by Mumbai police against Arnab Goswami?

17th October, 2020 GOVERNANCE

Context: The Mumbai police began “chapter proceedings” against Republic Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami.

What exactly are “chapter proceedings”?

  • Chapter proceedings are preventive actions taken by the police if they fear that a particular person is likely to create trouble and disrupt the peace in society.
  • These proceedings are unlike punitive action taken in case of an FIR with an intention to punish.
  • Here, the police can issue notices under sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure to ensure that the person is aware that creating nuisance could result in action against him, which includes paying a fine or imprisonment.

What are the sections using which these notices are served?

  • Generally a notice is issued to a person under section 111 of the CrPC whereby he is asked to present himself before the Executive Magistrate – an ACP-rank officer in a commissionerate of a deputy collector in rural areas – who has issued the notice.
  • The Executive Magistrate can ask the person to sign a bond of good behaviour and produce sureties vouching for his/her good behaviour.
  • A fine amount can also be decided – in accordance with the crime and the person’s financial capability – which the person have to pay if he violates the conditions set in the bond.

What is Section 108 of the CrPC?

  • The section states that any person who disseminates information that could lead to ill will among communities and castes should be served this notice.
  • Under this section a person could be made to sign the bond of good behaviour and asked to pay Rs 10 lakh as fine if he breaks the conditions of the bond.

Does a person served with the notice have legal options to appeal against the notice?

  • Yes, on receiving the notice under section 111, a person can appeal the notice before the courts.
  • Chapter proceedings cannot be used with the purpose of punishing a past offence.

What are the chapter proceedings generally used for?

  • They are generally used against a person, who is likely to commit a breach of the peace or disturb public tranquillity or do any wrongful act that may probably occasion a breach of the peace or disturb the public tranquility.
  • There is no need for even an FIR against a person for issuing a notice under section 107 of the CrPC (security of keeping peace in other cases). In this case the bond is signed for one year.
  • Under section 110, a notice is served to a habitual offender who has a record of FIRs registered against him.

Why are such notices called chapter proceedings? Is it a legal term?

  • It is not a legal term.
  • Since all the sections related to preventing of crime fall under a single chapter, it was colloquially called “chapter proceedings”.