New criminal laws challenged in SC for giving too much power to the police

These laws continue to give power to police and supress the rights of the citizens and make it a police state just like during colonial period, the petition alleged.
Amit Shah presenting the three criminal law bills in Parliament
Amit Shah presenting the three criminal law bills in Parliament

A Delhi-based lawyer, Vishal Tiwari, has filed a public interest litigation challenging the three new criminal justice laws passed during the just-concluded winter session of the parliament, alleging that they continue to suppress the freedoms of the citizen and were passed without sufficient debate and discussion.

The three bills have recently come under attack from civil rights activists for failing to address many of the excesses of the colonial era bills that they replaced. Some alleged that in some respects, the new laws make the situation worse.

Tiwari's petition alleged that the new law has "not adequately shed the colonial vestiges".

"There is no substantial attempt to regulate and curtail police authority or to mitigate the overarching control the State exercises over its citizens. All things considered, the Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita Bill, 2023 falls far short of the proclaimed decolonisation, as it continues to give power to police and supresses the rights of the Citizens and make a Police State just like Colonial Period," the petition said.

Speaking to TNIE, Tiwari said that he expects his petition to come up for hearing before the Supreme Court, as the "matter is very sensitive" and involves dispensation of justice involving the 3 new laws.

The petition seeks a direction from the Apex Court that an expert committee be formed under the chairmanship of a former judge of the Supreme Court, with members comprising judges and senior advocates to examine examine, assess, identify the viability of the three new criminal laws.

The three laws -- Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) --  replaced the old British colonial era laws - Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and Indian Evidence Act (IEA) of 1872.

President Droupadi Murmu has given her assent recently to the three new criminal justice (laws) bills, recently approved by the Parliament.

The government has highlighted the three new laws as providing better and clearer definitions of the offences and punishments related to crimes to lead to better dispensation of justice to litigants.

However, Tiwari alleged that laws do not deliver on their promise, and were passed and enacted without any parliamentary debate during the absence of most of the opposition members of the parliament.

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