The Mumbai police have started a drive titled 'Top 25' aimed at keeping under check history-sheeters and those they believe could foment trouble. A look at what the drive is and how far it has been implemented
The Mumbai police have started a drive titled ‘Top 25’ aimed at keeping under check history-sheeters and those they believe could foment trouble. A look at what the drive is and how far it has been implemented.
What is the ‘Top 25’ drive of the Mumbai police?
The Mumbai police commissioner has asked all 95 police stations in the city to make a list of the “top 25” criminal elements in their jurisdictions, and ask them to sign a bond of good behaviour failing which they would have to pay a fine. The aim is to rein in criminal elements and those the police believe could create a law and order problem in the city,
While this practise that is termed “chapter proceedings” has been followed in the past, the amount a person would usually forfeit was around Rs 10,000 – Rs 15,000. Now, the amount has been raised up to Rs 50 lakh. Recently, a person under the jurisdiction of Mahim police station forfeited a bail bond of Rs 15 lakh.
How is the police calculating the surety amount now?
The police are now going through the bank details and tax returns of the person and the surety amount is set in accordance with the annual income of the offender or his family. The police believe that the threat of having to pay a high amount will act as a deterrent and that a few thousands as surety amount did not have the desired effect.
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What are chapter proceedings though?
Chapter proceedings are preventive actions taken by the police if they fear that a particular person is likely to cause law and order trouble. 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, in the absence of which, he could be put behind bars.
Does a person served with the notice can take legal recourse against the notice?
Yes, on receiving the notice under section 111, a person can appeal before the courts. In fact, in the past, courts have come down strongly against chapter proceedings in some cases. In 2017, while striking down a notice issued to the owner of a bar, the Bombay High Court said “chapter proceedings cannot be initiated on the basis of an incident of trivial nature”.
So far, in how many cases has the Mumbai police initiated chapter proceedings in the city?
So far, at least 11,500 people have been made to sign a bond of good behaviour. At least, 90 criminals have already forfeited the bond, and 12 have been sent behind bars for not being able to make the payment.
Any notable cases where the Mumbai police had issued chapter proceedings?
Recently, the Mumbai police initiated chapter proceedings against the owner of Republic media Arnab Goswami in October. They referred to the two FIRs that had been registered against Goswami in the city last year. The two FIRs are linked to the content on his news shows on Republic TV channel in the aftermath of crowding of migrants outside Bandra railway station and the lynching of sadhus at Palghar. It was alleged that the attempt was to communalise the two incidents, following which FIRs were registered. Eventually, in June, the Bombay High Court stayed the FIR against Goswami and directed that no coercive steps be taken against him till the time the petition is disposed of.
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