Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What is Section 188 IPC?

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

What is Section 188 IPC?

What to study?

For Prelims: What is Section 188 of IPC?

For Mains: Imposition, concerns and how to prevent its misuse.

Why in News?

The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 lays down punishment as per Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, for flouting orders issued by various state governments to contain the spread of COVID-19.

In the past, the Act has been routinely enforced across the country for dealing with outbreaks of diseases such as swine flu, dengue, and cholera. Its penal provisions are currently being invoked by states to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, What is Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code?

Section 188 relates to Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant.

  • It says violators can be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both;
  • and if such disobedience causes or tends to cause danger to human life, health or safety, or causes or tends to cause a riot or affray, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

What happens if you violate the lockdown orders? 

Under Section 188, there two offences:

  1. Disobedience to an order lawfully promulgated by a public servant, If such disobedience causes obstruction, annoyance or injury to persons lawfully employed

Punishment: Simple Imprisonment for 1 month or fine of Rs 200 or both

  1. If such disobedience causes danger to human life, health or safety, etc.

Punishment: Simple Imprisonment for 6 months or fine of Rs 1000 or both

According to the First Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973, both offences are cognizable, bailable, and can be tried by any magistrate.

These are extraordinary times, but under what circumstances is Sec 188 IPC invoked normally?

To be punishable under S. 188, the order has to be for public purposes by public functionaries. An order made in a civil suit between two parties does not fall under this Section.

There must be evidence that the accused had knowledge of the order with the disobedience of which he is charged. Mere proof of a general notification promulgating the order does not satisfy the requirements of the section. Mere disobedience of the order does not constitute an offence in itself, it must be shown that the disobedience has or tends to a certain consequence.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference between sections 144 and 188.
  2. When, why and who imposes it?
  3. Powers to review actions under this act.
  4. Punishment prescribed under this section.
  5. Difference between CrPC and IPC.
  6. Overview of the Epidemics Act.

Mains Link:

What is Section 188 of the CrPC? Why is it imposed? Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express.