Centre's move to replace colonial-era laws a wise decision
Subhasish Mitra (Wide Angle)
The Centre has taken a wise decision by introducing three bills in the Lok Sabha to replace colonial-era laws -- the IPC, CrPC and the Indian Evidence Act. It is a welcome move.
In a developing and vibrant society, one can't have stagnant laws. These colonial-era legislations were obsolete statutes and there was a need to replace them.
In a landmark move, Home Minister Amit Shah introduced three bills in the Lok Sabha to replace colonial-era laws, asserting that the proposed laws will transform the country's criminal justice system and bring the spirit to protect the rights of Indian citizens to the centre stage.
Shah introduced the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) Bill, 2023; Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) Bill, 2023; and Bharatiya Sakshya (BS) Bill, 2023 that will replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1898, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 respectively.
The changes were done to provide speedy justice and create a legal system that keeps contemporary needs and aspirations of the people in mind, Shah said, while experts noted that in a vibrant society, the stagnant laws must also change.
The proposed clause to provide for first-time community service as one of the punishments for petty offences, is a good thing because sending someone to jail for small issues does not help anyone. If the aim is to reform, public services are much better to bring that person to the mainstream.
It's a fact that the IPC, CrPC and the Evidence Act are old and obsolete statutes and there was a need to replace them. That is something which is to be appreciated. However, one thing that may not go down well with the judiciary is the Hindi nomenclature of the new bills.
Experts have flagged the issue of naming these bills in Hindi and said the names of these statutes should not be in Hindi as it is not the official language of courts. Moreover, people who are not conversant with Hindi will find it difficult to understand the names of these proposed Acts.
The three major criminal Acts were implemented more than a hundred years ago and were in dire need of modifications.
The BNS Bill has provisions that seek to repeal the sedition law and award maximum capital punishment for crimes such as mob lynching and rape of minors, the home minister said.
The Bill also has provisions to provide for first-time community service as one of the punishments for petty offences. It lists new offences such as acts of secession, armed rebellion, subversive activities, separatist activities or endangering the sovereignty or unity and integrity of India.