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Dhabhol Power Plant - India
"Many energy companies have invested in closed or repressive countries -- arguing that their investment would help develop the local economy and thereby improve the human rights situation. But in this case, Enron has invested in a democratic country -- and human rights abuses there have increased. Enron hasn't made things better for human rights; it has made things worse." Legal Restrictions Used to Suppress Opposition to the Dabhol Power Project
Table of Contents

Key Individuals Named in this Report

I. Summary and Recommendations

II. Background: New Delhi and Bombay

III. Background to the Protests: Ratnagiri District

IV. Legal Restrictions Used to Suppress Opposition to the Dabhol Power Project

V. Ratnagiri: Violations of Human Rights 1997

VI. The Applicable Laws

VII. Complicity: The Dabhol Power Corporation

VIII. Responsibility: Financing Institutions and the Government of the United States

IX. Conclusion

Appendix A: Correspondence Between Human Rights Watch and the Export-Import Bank of the United States

Appendix B: Report of the Cabinet Sub-Committee to Review the Dabhol Power Project

Appendix C: Selected Recommendations and Conclusions from the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy, May 29, 1995

Appendix D: Correspondence Between the Government of India and the World Bank

The Code of Criminal Procedure

Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure allows the district magistrate or district collector to “direct any person to abstain” from a district for up to sixty days, if the official “considers that such direction is likely to prevent, or tends to prevent obstruction, annoyance or injury to any person lawfully employed, or danger to human life, health or safety, or a disturbance of the public tranquility, ora riot, or an affray.” 110 Section 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure allows the police to arrest any person for a period of up to twenty-four hours, without a warrant, if they know that a crime is about to be committed and that there is no other way to prevent the crime.111

These laws, like Section 37 of the Bombay Police Act, are also colloquially referred to as “prohibitory orders” or “externment orders”, but their implementation is different from sections 37 and 135 of the Bombay Police Act. While the Bombay Police Act contains similar provisions, the provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure have been used to prevent individuals perceived as leaders of protests from participating in demonstrations either by placing them under preventative detention or by prohibiting their entry into the districts where demonstrations took place. When the Code of Criminal Procedure is invoked against leaders who are not from the districts, the relevant restrictions are referred to as prohibitory orders. When local villagers are prohibited from participating in demonstrations, they are referred to as externment orders. Human Rights Watch believes that the intent and application of the Code of Criminal Procedure, in this context, is to prevent leaders of the opposition to the Dabhol Power project from exercising their rights of freedom of expression and assembly.

110 Section 144(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. For a detailed analysis of this provision, see: “The Code of Criminal Procedure,” Justice M. Hidayatullah and S.P. Sathe, eds., (Nagpur: Wadhwa & Company, 1992), pp. 148-153.

111 Section 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states: “ (1) A police officer knowing of a design to commit any cognizable offence may arrest, without orders from the Magistrate and without a warrant, the person so designing, if it appears to such officer that the commission of the offence cannot be otherwise prevented. (2) No person arrested under sub-section (1) shall be detained for a period exceeding twenty-four hours from the time of his arrest unless his further detention is required or authorised under any other provisions of this Code or of any other law for the time being in force.”