Know the difference between Lockdown, Curfew and Section 144

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 11th, 2023

The recent spread of Coronavirus that infected many human lives around the world has started impacting India too. Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a lockdown of 21 days on 24th March following China's way of dealing with the spread of deadly disease. 

India initially had fewer cases of Covid-19, but now with the arrival of Indians from Covid-19 infected countries and other foreign tourists, a number of infected humans is on the rise to around 519 and 10 deaths have been confirmed by the government.

So, what does Lockdown means? Know the difference between Lockdown, Curfew and Section 144?


Know the difference between Lockdown, Curfew and Section 144

Lockdown:  Lockdown is an emergency security measure that prevents people from leaving or entering a specified area. People are advised to confine to their space in order to minimize the possibility of harm or damage to individuals in that area.

Criteria of lockdown protocol will depend upon the nature of the threat.

Types of Lockdown:

1. Partial Lockdown: A partial lockdown is locking down of a specific building or area. This type of lockdown is done to protect personnel and property in that area.

2. Progressive Lockdown: A Progressive Lockdown also called Incremental Lockdown is a step-by-step lockdown of a building or area as a result of the harmful scenario.

3. Full Lockdown: Full Lockdown is a way to prevent freedom of entry or exit from an entire building, entire premises or area. For the safety and security of the environment, it becomes necessary for everyone to co-operate.

A Lockdown plan is implemented by the authorities considering basic necessities, emergency situations and healthcare facilities.


Curfew:  A Curfew is an official order that requires people to remain indoors for specified hours. It is often imposed to maintain public order.

Originally the word Curfew came from a French phrase “couvre-feu” which means “cover fire”. It was a law made by William the Conqueror that stated that all the lights and fires must be covered at the ringing of an eight o’clock bell to prevent the spread of destructive fires in communities of timber building.

  • Personnel responsible for law & order, health care and mass media are exempted.

 Section 144

Section 144:  According to Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 the administration is empowered to impose restrictions on assembly of four or more people in an area.

  • Section 144 is imposed in peculiar cases involving threat and danger to human lives and property.
  • It also prohibits carrying any kind of weapon in an area where Section 144 is imposed otherwise the person can be punished for 3 years.
  • Any kind of public’s movement, rallies are prohibited.
  • Educational Institutions also remain closed.

Duration: Section 144 cannot extend more than 2 months but the state government can increase this time limit to maximum 6 months.

Difference between Lockdown, Curfew and Section144

Know the difference between Lockdown, Curfew and Section 144

  • A Lockdown confines people in their spaces but does not affect the availability of essential services which is not applicable in case of Curfew and Section144 because only emergency services are available.
  • In the case of Curfew and Section144 assembling is prohibited whereas, in case of Lockdown any entry and exit from a particular area is prohibited, this is more stringent in comparison to the situation of imposing Curfew and Section144.
  • Passes are required for movement in case of Curfew whereas in case of Lockdown no passes are required.
  • Violation can lead to legal action in case of Lockdown whereas when Curfew and Section 144 are applied people not following rules can be punished more strictly.

In all three cases medical services, safety and security services remain functional.


Happy Reading!

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