The Maharashtra government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has directed top police officials to withdraw all COVID-related cases which were filed until March 31, 2022. However, the government has prescribed criteria on which cases should and should not be withdrawn.
The state government had evoked Prevention of Epidemics and Disaster Management Act following the coronavirus outbreak and the state was in lockdown, the violators of this lockdown were booked under various sections of Indian Penal Code including 188 and others.
In a letter dated September 21, the government ordered the cases to be withdrawn since many citizens have been facing issues due the said crimes. The government had been mulling over it; the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government had announced withdrawal which is now being carried out by Shinde-Fadnavis government.
“Legal action should be taken to withdraw the cases filed under the following various sections due to the violation of the preventive order during the pandemic: a) Suits filed under section 188 of the IPC, or b) Cases filed under Prevention of Epidemics / Disaster Management Act including Section 188 IPC, or c) Cases filed under Prevention of Epidemics / Disaster Management Act including Section 188 including 269 or 270 or 271 of the IPC, or d) Cases filed under Section 188 of IPC, Maharashtra Police Act, Section 37 including Section 135,” the letter read.
The government said that the police personnel that cases should be withdrawn if they meet the following conditions—a) Government servants and front-line workers should not have been attacked in the said cases, and b) Damage to private and public property should not exceed Rs.50,000.
The government has also announced a committee that will be formed under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioner of Police and Deputy Divisional Officer in each district for legal action to be initiated toward withdrawal of cases.