The Mumbai police have begun “chapter proceedings” against Republic Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami.
- 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.
- In chapter proceedings, 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.
- Chapter proceeding is not a legal term. All the sections related to preventing of crime fall under a single chapter, it was colloquially called “chapter proceedings” and has since been used to refer to actions of this nature.
- A notice is issued to a person under section 111 of the CrPC whereby he is asked to present himself before the Executive Magistrate.
- The person has to explain why he should not be made to sign a bond of good behaviour.
- If the Executive Magistrate is not satisfied with the answer, the person is asked to sign a bond of good behaviour and produce sureties vouching for his/her good behaviour.
- A fine amount is also decided in accordance with the crime and the person’s financial capability which the person would have to pay if he violates the conditions set in the bond.
- The section states that any person who disseminates information that could lead to ill will among communities and castes should be served this notice.
Options to appeal against the notice:
- On receiving the notice under section 111, a person can appeal the notice before the courts.
- In 2017, the Bombay High Court mentioned that “chapter proceedings cannot be initiated on the basis of an incident of trivial nature”.
- In 2018 the Mumbai sessions court also mentioned that chapter proceedings cannot be used with the purpose of punishing a past offence.
Use of chapter proceedings:
- When an ACP receives information that any person 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 tranquillity he may in the manner hereinafter provided, require such person to show cause why he should not be ordered to execute a bond.
- There is no need for even an FIR against a person for issuing a notice under section 107 of the CrPC.