PATNA: Ever heard of Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibits an assembly of five or more persons, being invoked for anything other than controlling law and order? In what could only be described as innovative use of criminal law for a civil purpose, authorities in Bihar’s Gaya district invoked this tough law to force people to stay at home and not get exposed to the deadly heat wave, which has claimed 100 lives in the past 72 hours.
The restriction is between 10.30 am and 4 pm. In his order, Gaya District Magistrate Abhishekh Singh said nobody will be allowed to work in the open when the sun rays are strong. “Any work related to MGNREGA will not be done after 10.30 am,” he added.
Later in the day, Section 144 was invoked in Samastipur, Nalanda, Aurangabad, Arwal and Nawada districts as well. Patna and Gaya, which have been reeling under a heatwave for the past three days, recorded a high of 42.4 degrees C each on Monday.
In view of the continuing heat wave in most parts of the state for the past couple of days, the government has decided to shut all the colleges, private and government schools, institutes and coaching centres till June 22, Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar told reporters here on Monday after a meeting with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.