255 people arrested for lockdown violation during the second lockdown

Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) registered 90 cases of breach of public order and tranquility or criminal nuisance during the second lockdown, from 20 December 2020 till 31 January 2021 from across the country. 

In connection to the registered 90 cases, 255 people were arrested of which 11 were convicted to 1 to 3-months prison term, however, they were released after paying Thrim-thue as the sentence was petty misdemeanor (1 month to 1-year imprisonment). Of the rest, some were charge sheeted to court while some are under investigation. 

Thimphu police contributed the highest with 48 cases involving 105 people followed by Paro with 10 cases involving 30 people and Wangduephodrang with 9 cases involving 16 people, while the rest of the Dzongkhags have reported only few cases.

Meanwhile, Thimphu police registered a total of 1,287 cases in 2020 of which 72 cases were reported during second lockdown.

Of the 72 reported cases, 29 cases were related to lockdown violation while 11 cases received are gender based violence cases.

Others were criminal cases like burglary, gambling, harassment and abuse of controlled substances, the police said.

Police said, “We have not detained all the arrested suspects with a risk of local transmission of virus in the detention centers but we have arrested repeat offenders so as to avoid anything serious. However, they were detained following the COVID-19 protocols.”

Priority is given to lockdown violations whereby almost all the 29 cases were forwarded to court, the police added.

As per the Penal Code of Bhutan 2004, section 448 states that, a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of breach of public order and tranquility, if the defendant purposely fails to abide by the orders of the Royal Government issued in the interest of public safety, public order and tranquility.

The section also states that, in pursuit of public order, general social welfare and to avoid breach of the peace, the royal government may, if deemed necessary in emergency circumstance, declare curfew or take other action as may be required or prohibit an assembly in designated area (Government building, military installation, border area, etc.).

The offence of breach of Public Order and tranquility shall be a petty misdemeanor as per section 449 of the act.

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