Understanding Section 145 CrPC: Procedure Where Dispute Concerning Land or Water is Likely to Cause Breach of Peace

Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) addresses disputes related to land and water that pose a potential threat to public peace. This provision empowers the Executive Magistrate to intervene and prevent conflicts from escalating into violent confrontations. The section is a vital tool in maintaining public order, especially in rural and semi-urban areas where land and water disputes are common.

section 145 crpc

Understanding the intricacies of Section 145 CrPC is crucial for legal professionals, law enforcement officers, and the general public to ensure peaceful resolution of such disputes.

Bare Act. Section 145 Cr.P.C.
Procedure where dispute concerning land or water is likely to cause breach of peace


(1) Whenever an Executive Magistrate is satisfied from a report of a police officer or upon other information that a dispute likely to cause a breach of the peace exists concerning any land or water or the boundaries thereof, within his local jurisdiction, he shall make an order in writing, stating the grounds of his being so satisfied, and requiring the parties concerned in such dispute to attend his Court in person or by pleader, on a specified date and time, and to put in written statements of their respective claims as respects the fact of actual possession of the subject of dispute.
(2) For the purposes of this section, the expression land or water includes buildings, markets, fisheries, crops or other produce of land, and the rents or profits of any such property.
(3) A copy of the order shall be served in the manner provided by this Code for the service of a summons upon such person or persons as the Magistrate may direct, and at least one copy shall be published by being affixed to some conspicuous place at or near the subject of dispute.
(4) The Magistrate shall then, without reference to the merits or the claims of any of the parties to a right to possess the subject of dispute, persue the statements so put in, hear the parties, receive all such evidence as may be produced by them, take such further evidence, if any, as he thinks necessary, and, if possible, decide whether any and which of the parties was, at the date of the order made by him under sub-section (1), in possession of the subject of dispute:
Provided that if it appears to the Magistrate that any party has been forcibly and wrongfully dispossessed within two months next before the date on which the report of a police officer or other information was received by the Magistrate, or after that date and before the date of his order under sub-section (1), he may treat the party so dispossessed as if that party had been in possession on the date of his order under sub-section (1).
(5) Nothing in this section shall preclude any party so required to attend, or any other person interested, from showing that no such dispute as aforesaid exists or has existed; and in such case the Magistrate shall cancel his said order, and all further proceedings thereon shall be stayed, but, subject to such cancellation, the order of the Magistrate under sub-section (1) shall be final.
(6) (a) If the Magistrate decides that one of the parties was, or should under the proviso to subsection (4) be treated as being, in such possession of the said subject, he shall issue an order declaring such party to be entitled to possession thereof until evicted therefrom in due course of law, and forbidding all disturbance of such possession until such eviction; and when he proceeds under the proviso to sub-section (4), may restore to possession the party forcibly and wrongfully dispossessed.
(b) The order made under this sub-section shall be served and published in the manner laid down in sub-section (3).
(7) When any party to any such proceeding dies, the Magistrate may cause the legal representative of the deceased party to be made a party to the proceeding and shall thereupon continue the inquiry, and if any question arises as to who the legal representative of a deceased party for the purposes of such proceeding is, all persons claiming to be representatives of the deceased party shall be made parties thereto.
(8) If the Magistrate is of opinion that any crop or other produce of the property, the subject of dispute in a proceeding under this section pending before him, is subject to speedy and natural decay, he may make an order for the proper custody or sale of such property, and, upon the completion of the inquiry, shall make such order for the disposal of such property, or the sale-proceeds thereof, as he thinks fit.
(9) The Magistrate may, if he thinks fit, at any stage of the proceedings under this section, on the application of either party, issue a summons to any witness directing him to attend or to produce any document or thing.
(10) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to be in derogation of powers of the Magistrate to proceed under section 107.

STATE AMENDMENT
Maharashtra
Amendment of section 145 of Act 2 of 1974.--In section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), in its application to the State of Maharashtra (hereinafter referred to as "the said Code"),--
(a) in sub-section (1) for the words Whenever an Executive Magistrate he words "Whenever in Greater Bombay, a Metropolitan Magistrate and elsewhere in the State, an Executive Magistrate" shall be substituted;
(b) for sub-section (10), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely:-
"(10) In the case of an Executive Magistrate taking action under this section nothing in this section shall be deemed to be in derogation of his power to proceed under section 107. In the case of a Metropolitan Magistrate taking action under this section, if at any state of the proceeding , he is of the opinion that the dispute calls for an action under section 107, he shall, after recording his reasons, forward the necessary information to the executive Magistrate having jurisdiction, to enable him to proceed under that section.".
[Vide Maharashtra Act 1 of 1978, s. 2]

Section 145 CrPC: An Overview

What is Section 145 CrPC?

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Section 145 of the CrPC provides a legal framework for addressing disputes over land and water that may lead to a breach of peace. It empowers an Executive Magistrate to take preventive action by issuing orders to maintain status quo until the matter is resolved through legal channels.

Scope of Section 145 CrPC

The scope of Section 145 CrPC includes disputes concerning possession of immovable property and rights to use water. The section is designed to prevent violent clashes and ensure that conflicts are resolved through legal means rather than force.

Why is Section 145 CrPC Important?

Section 145 CrPC is important because it provides a mechanism for preemptive intervention in disputes that could otherwise lead to violence. By allowing the Executive Magistrate to maintain peace and order, this section helps in preventing potential law and order situations.

Procedure Under Section 145 CrPC

Initiation of Proceedings

The proceedings under Section 145 CrPC are initiated by the Executive Magistrate upon receiving information that a dispute likely to cause a breach of peace exists. This information can come from various sources, including police reports, complaints from the parties involved, or other credible sources.

Preliminary Order

Once the Magistrate is satisfied that there is a dispute likely to cause a breach of peace, a preliminary order is issued. This order requires the parties involved to appear before the Magistrate and submit written statements of their claims regarding the fact of actual possession of the subject of dispute.

Examination of Written Statements

The Magistrate examines the written statements submitted by the parties. These statements must include detailed descriptions of the property, the claims of possession, and the evidence supporting these claims. The objective is to determine who was in possession of the property at the time of the dispute.

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Inquiry and Evidence Collection

The Magistrate may conduct an inquiry to gather further evidence. This can include examining witnesses, conducting site inspections, and reviewing documents. The aim is to ascertain the actual state of possession of the property.

Order of Maintenance of Status Quo

Based on the inquiry and evidence, the Magistrate issues an order to maintain the status quo regarding the possession of the property. This order remains in effect until a competent court decides on the rights of the parties. The status quo order prevents any party from taking unilateral action that could escalate the dispute.

Legal Framework and Key Provisions

Jurisdiction of Executive Magistrate

The jurisdiction of the Executive Magistrate under Section 145 CrPC is critical in ensuring timely intervention in disputes. The Magistrate has the authority to take preventive measures and maintain peace until the legal resolution of the dispute.

Duration of Orders

Orders issued under Section 145 CrPC are temporary and are meant to maintain the status quo until the dispute is resolved through judicial proceedings. The Magistrate’s order can be challenged in higher courts, but it remains effective until set aside by a competent court.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with the Magistrate’s order under Section 145 CrPC can result in legal consequences. The Magistrate has the authority to take action against parties that violate the order, including arrest and detention to maintain peace.

Case Studies and Judicial Interpretations

Landmark Cases

Several landmark cases have shaped the interpretation and application of Section 145 CrPC. These cases provide valuable insights into how courts have upheld the provisions of this section to maintain public order.

Case Study 1: Ram Sumer Puri Mahant vs State of U.P.

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In this case, the Supreme Court held that proceedings under Section 145 CrPC are intended to prevent breaches of peace by maintaining the status quo. The court emphasized that the Magistrate’s order is not meant to determine the rights of parties but to prevent violence.

Case Study 2: Ashok Kumar vs State of Uttarakhand

In this case, the High Court reiterated the importance of Section 145 CrPC in preventing breaches of peace. The court upheld the Magistrate’s order to maintain the status quo, highlighting the preventive nature of the section.

Practical Applications and Challenges

Practical Applications

Section 145 CrPC is widely used in rural and semi-urban areas where land and water disputes are common. The section provides a quick and effective mechanism for preventing violence and maintaining peace.

Challenges in Implementation

Despite its importance, the implementation of Section 145 CrPC faces several challenges. These include delays in proceedings, lack of awareness among the public, and occasional misuse of the provision to harass parties.

Role of Law Enforcement

Law enforcement agencies play a crucial role in the implementation of Section 145 CrPC. Police officers often provide the initial information to the Magistrate and assist in maintaining peace during the proceedings.

Benefits of Section 145 CrPC

Prevention of Violence

One of the primary benefits of Section 145 CrPC is the prevention of violence. By maintaining the status quo, the section prevents parties from resorting to force to resolve disputes.

Quick Resolution

Section 145 CrPC provides a quick mechanism for addressing disputes. The preliminary order is issued promptly, ensuring that potential breaches of peace are addressed without delay.

Legal Recourse

The section ensures that disputes are resolved through legal channels rather than force. This promotes the rule of law and ensures that the rights of parties are protected.

Conclusion

Section 145 CrPC is a vital tool in maintaining public order and preventing violence in disputes concerning land and water. Its preventive nature, quick intervention mechanism, and legal framework ensure that disputes are resolved peacefully. Understanding and effectively implementing this provision is crucial for legal professionals, law enforcement officers, and the general public to maintain peace and order in society.

Frequently Asked Questions

Proceedings under Section 145 CrPC can be initiated by an Executive Magistrate based on information from police reports, complaints from parties involved, or other credible sources indicating a potential breach of peace.

The preliminary order under Section 145 CrPC requires the parties involved to appear before the Magistrate and submit written statements of their claims regarding the possession of the disputed property.

Yes, the Magistrate’s order under Section 145 CrPC can be challenged in higher courts. However, the order remains effective until set aside by a competent court.

Non-compliance with the Magistrate’s order under Section 145 CrPC can result in legal consequences, including arrest and detention to maintain peace.

The key benefits of Section 145 CrPC include the prevention of violence, quick resolution of disputes, and ensuring that conflicts are resolved through legal channels rather than force.