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Tuesday, April 23 2024
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President Murmu Approves Bills Replacing Criminal Codes

Murmu
Photo Credit : News Karnataka

New Delhi: President Droupadi Murmu granted approval on Monday for three new criminal justice bills, a move criticized by senior Opposition MPs who deemed the laws draconian and called for a review following the next government’s installment post-Lok Sabha elections.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has officially notified the three Acts in the gazette and is anticipated to announce the effective date soon. The President’s approval followed the clearance of the three bills by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on December 20 and 21, respectively.

The newly approved legislation, namely Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Act, replaced the archaic Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and Indian Evidence Act of 1872.

Renowned Rajya Sabha MP P Chidambaram asserted that the first task of the incoming government in 2024 should be a thorough review of these laws, citing concerns about draconian provisions. Manish Tewari, a senior Lok Sabha MP, criticized the suspension of the entire Opposition from Parliament, alleging it was aimed at preventing crucial legal scrutiny of the codes.

Chidambaram expressed apprehension that the new penal code could become an oppressive tool against the impoverished, working-class, and vulnerable segments of society. He specifically pointed out constitutional concerns with Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, replacing the CrPC, citing potential violations of Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

“The new Criminal Procedure Code contains provisions that severely restrict freedom and personal liberty, rather than strengthening due process of law,” he remarked. Chidambaram highlighted concerns about extended police custody periods, up to 60 or 90 days, potentially leading to police excesses and custodial persecution.

Tewari characterized the Presidential assent as marking the beginning of a new era of draconianism, emphasizing the empowerment of police stations contrasted with the disempowerment of the population. He called for a comprehensive review of the laws, stating they must be examined thoroughly.

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