Parliament panel adopts reports on criminal laws
New Delhi: The parliamentary committee examining three bills, which seek to replace as many “colonial” era laws, on Monday adopted its draft report offering a slew of amendments but sticking to their Hindi names, with nearly 10 opposition members likely to submit dissent notes.
Congress leader P Chidambaram spoke at length in the meeting offering a host of suggestions, including that the committee should define community service and what all it envisages, and wanted three instead of two days for members to file dissent notes, sources said, adding that the panel has stuck to the deadline of 48 hours.
While some opposition members such as Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary have already submitted their dissent notes, a few others are likely to submit in the next two days.
The committee, the sources said, has stuck to the Hindi names given to the bills and ignored suggestions from some opposition members, including Dayanidhi Maran, that they should have English versions too.
Home Minister Amit Shah had introduced Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam bills in Lok Sabhaon August 11 during the Winter session. They are meant to replace the Indian Penal Code, The Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act and were sent to the committee for scrutiny with a three-month deadline.
Shad had described the current set of laws guiding the criminal jurisprudence as a colonial legacy, a reference to their British Raj provenance, and asserted that they focussed on punishment while the proposed laws give primacy to justice.
The 30-member committee is headed by BJP MP Brij Lal.
The committee has recommended taking a more stringent view of deaths caused by negligence amid criticism that the current statute is too lenient, the sources said.
The committee has also proposed a reduction in sentence for those convicted of deterring public servants from discharging their duties.
The sources said the Section 353 of the Indian Penal Code provides for a maximum of two years of prison term and the committee may seek to slash it to one year. The law is often used against those staging protests and many members of the committee are of the view that common protesters should be dealt with leniently.
It has been reported that the committee has backed a gender-neutral adultery law and punitive measures for non-consensual sex between men, women and transgender people among other recommendations.