Gujarat most disobedient in following Covid protocols?

Gujarat most disobedient in following Covid-19 protocols?

According to the report released by the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB), Gujarat accounts for 2.27 lakh cases out under this section

Among the metros, Ahmedabad recorded the highest number of 43,120 cases under Section 188. Credit: AFP File Photo

Were people of Gujarat the most disobedient in following Covid-19 protocols in the country or was it that the police in the state were more strict compared to their counterparts elsewhere in slapping cases for violating norms like wearing masks or maintaining social distancing?

One could argue both ways if one goes by the latest Crime in India 2020 report, as Gujarat tops the list of states in slapping cases under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

According to the report released by the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB), Gujarat accounts for 2.27 lakh cases out under this section followed by Maharashtra (1.39 lakh), Andhra Pradesh (72,138), Uttar Pradesh (40,361), Madhya Pradesh (34,753) and Delhi (32,648).

Karnataka had 1,466 cases — least for a south Indian state. Goa had 1,484 cases while Tamil Nadu had 4,605, Telangana 11,176 and Kerala 12,071.

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Among the metros, Ahmedabad recorded the highest number of 43,120 cases followed by Delhi (31,957), Pune (25,733) and Surat (24,777). Bengaluru recorded 131 cases.

Overall, there was a major increase seen in the cases registered under Section 188  — 6.12 lakh cases last year, which is around 30 times from 29,469 cases in 2019 as well as under 'other IPC crimes' from 2.52 lakh cases in 2019 to 10.62 lakh. Similarly under the state's special laws category, more cases were registered — 89,553 cases to 4.14 lakh cases in 2020.

"These together have resulted in 16.43 lakh more cases registered in 2020 as compared to 2019. These cases are primarily those arising out of violations of Covid-19 norms. Effectively therefore, there is a decrease in registration of traditional crime by about two lakh cases," the report said. In 2018, there were 22,907 cases under Section 188.

Police was very fast in concluding these cases, as it chargesheeted 4.76 lakh chargesheets in cases registered last year. A total of 4.82 lakh chargesheets, including in 6,127 cases from among those pending before 2020, were filed.

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While 99.4 per cent was the chargesheeting rate for the whole of 2020, 21.9 per cent of the cases were still pending investigation.

When it comes to courts, there were convictions in 74,872 cases, of whichc 65,809 cases were filed last year only, with a conviction rate of 90.5 per cent. However, there were acquitals in 7,000 cases and discharge of the accused in another 905 cases. A total of 1.08 lakh people, including 1,824 women, were convicted while 12,173, including 385 women, were acquitted and 12,328 discharged.

Of the total 4.99 lakh people arrested last year under Section 188, only a miniscule number were women -- 10,143, which also includes 15 minors and 180 who are above 60 years-- while when it came to charge-sheeting, the total was 7.09 lakh people, including just 12,966 women.

The age group of those arrested were: 382 below 18 years, 2.21 lakh between 18 and 30 years, 2.01 lakh between 30 and 45 years, 72,029 between 45 and 60 years and 4,751 above 60 years.

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