A number of police officials that TOI spoke to cited the Bombay Police Act, which bans the assembly — in a single location — of five or more people who intend to cause a law-and-order problem. “Under Section 37 of the Bombay Police Act, the police commissioner can issue an order prohibiting the assembly of persons or people carrying arms in a particular area. Violation of this order is punishable by imprisonment up to one year. Such orders are issued regularly by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations,’’ said an IPS officer.
Another IPS officer, however, said he does not foresee a problem if the guards are unarmed. “If they carry lathis or any other weapon, it will be an offence,’’ he said.
A section of the police has adopted the wait-and-watch approach. “The Mumbai police is capable of dealing with anti-social elements. Let us see how long the Sena’s enthusiasm will last,’’ said a senior official.
The popular view among city cops is that Sena is not serious about its announcement, which they believe is a mere political gimmick. “They want some issue to adopt after the elections,’’ they said.
“If they are serious and want to protect a walker, they should go to deserted areas where there is no press or cameras. But before they do anything, they should examine the law,’’ said one policeman.
The Times of India, October 31, 2009