Coronavirus: Mumbai cops invoke section 144 to ban group tours

(Eds: Adding details) Mumbai, Mar 15 (PTI) In the wake of coronavirus scare, the Mumbai Police on Sunday invoked section 144 of the CrPC to prohibit tour operators from conducting any kind of group tours to foreign or domestic destinations till March 31, an official said.

If any tour operator is found flouting the order, action will be taken against him under IPC 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), the official said.

'With a view to prevent danger to human life, health or safety, we hereby promulgate an order under Section 144 of the CrPC in the areas under the control of Commissioner of Police, prohibiting the conduct of any business, holiday or other type of tours involving groups of people travelling together to a foreign or domestic destination organised by private tour operators,' the police order read.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Pranay Ashok said, 'We have issued this order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This will prohibit the tour operators from conducting any kind of tour involving a group of people.' 'This is a very specific order aimed at preventing danger to human life and safety. It will be in force till March 31. It should not be confused with the regular order issued under section 144 CrPC,' he said.

'If any operator has to take a group of people on a tour, then he may do so after seeking permission from the office of the Commissioner of Police. Anybody found flouting this order shall be punished under IPC section 188,' he added.

Talking about the measures taken by the police to prevent the spread of coronavirus, he said, 'We have already asked our offices to avoid handshake with people and use the traditional 'namaste'.' 'We have distributed masks as well as sanitisers to the police stations for use. We advise people to avoid public gathering, assembling and roaming outside. In case people don't feel well, they should approach nearby government hospitals. People should not believe in fake news,' Ashok said. PTI ZA NP NP NP