New criminal law bills a copy-paste job, say Opposition MPs

The Opposition MPs who filed dissent notes are Digvijaya Singh, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, P Chidambaram, Ravneet Singh, Derek O’Brien, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Dayanidhi Maran and N R Elango.
Parliament Building.( Photo | PTI)
Parliament Building.( Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI:  As the three Bills replacing the existing criminal laws are set to be taken up in the winter session of Parliament starting December 4, eight opposition MPs recorded their dissent. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs adopted its reports on the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam earlier this month and submitted them to Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar on Saturday. 

The Opposition MPs who filed dissent notes are Congress’ Digvijaya Singh, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, P Chidambaram, and Ravneet Singh; TMC’s Derek O’Brien and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar; and DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran and N R Elango. The MPs said the Bills were “largely a copy and paste” of the existing laws and opposed their Hindi names, saying the move was an affront to the non-Hindi speaking people.

Calling it as a wasteful exercise that will have many undesirable consequences, former minister P Chidambaram said: “All that the Bills have done is to make a few amendments (some acceptable, some not acceptable), rearrange the sections of the existing laws, and merge different sections into one section with many sub-sections”, adding that under Article 348 of the Constitution, all Acts shall be in the English language.

The three Bills seek to replace the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Evidence Act. In his dissent note, Chowdhury, leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, said, “The law is vastly the same. Only renumbered and re-arranged.

The MPs also pointed out important stakeholders such as state governments, Bar Associations, state and central police, the National Law School Universities, judges of the subordinate judiciary, eminent retired judges of the SC and the High Courts, or legal scholars were not consulted. 

93% of existing law intact: TMC
TMC’s O’Brien said 93% of existing laws remain intact, 18 out of 22 chapters have been copy-pasted, implying the existing laws could have been tweaked to incorporate these changes

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