Monday, December 11, 2023

Parliamentary Standing Committee adopts reports on new crime laws

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The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs examining bills to replace the three crime laws has adopted its draft report with several changes, including gender-neutral adultery law and reduced punishment under Section 353 of IPC.Despite vehement disapproval of several Opposition MPs, the panel which met on Monday decided to stick with the Hindi names – Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam – for the laws to replace the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act, respectively.

According to people aware of the development, around 10 Opposition MPs, including former home minister P Chidambaram and Congress floor Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury were set to submit dissent note to the reports. The panel is headed by BJP MP Brij Lal.

House Panel Adopts Reports on New Crime Laws

The report adopted by the panel has favoured a gender-neutral adultery law and punishment for non-consensual sex irrespective of gender, it is learnt. The House committee has also suggested reduced jail term under the current section 353 of the IPC as it was found that the clause for ‘obstruction to official duty’ was used mostly against protesters.

The panel has also recommended a mandatory jail term and a significant increase in fines for adulteration of food and drink intended for sale.

The panel suggests a minimum six months in jail and a minimum fine of Rs 25,000 for adulteration, and a minimum six months in jail and a minimum fine of Rs 10,000 for selling unfit food or drink.

Home Minister Amit Shah had introduced the replacement bills in the Lok Sabha on August 11, claiming ‘British era laws focussed on punishment, while emphasis of the new laws were on justice.’ The House later sent the bills to the parliamentary committee for vetting.

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