‘Undemocratic... Karnataka to bring in amendments’: HK Patil

The government is rethinking the new laws as the Centre has radically changed important mother laws in a parliamentary setup, Patil said.
Law Minister HK Patil, who had headed an expert committee that studied the new criminal laws
Law Minister HK Patil, who had headed an expert committee that studied the new criminal laws

BENGALURU: With the Indian Code of Justice, Indian Civil Defence Code and Indian Evidence Act coming into force on Monday, the Karnataka government has initiated a rethink on the new laws.

Law Minister HK Patil, who had headed an expert committee that studied these new laws, said, “The Union government has completely failed to uphold the integrity of the laws, Indian values and certain historical clauses. The law department formed an expert committee and submitted a detailed report to the Centre but it did not respond to most of the suggestions sent by the state government, and has implemented the draft as it is. The State government is not only opposing these three legislations but is also seriously considering several amendments within its jurisdiction, by exercising its powers conferred in Schedule III of Article 7 of the Constitution.”

The government is rethinking the new laws as the Centre has radically changed important mother laws in a parliamentary setup, Patil said.

“It has committed a serious legal lapse by setting aside democratic traditions and deciding the date of implementation of the laws in the previous cabinet, a few days before elections were announced. With a new government at the Centre, there should be a discussion on whether the new laws should be implemented, and should come into effect on the date decided by the previous government,” the minister added.

Terming as unfortunate that the Centre did not accept the state government’s suggestions, he said, “The Central government should take serious note of the letter sent by the Chief Minister. These laws should be amended and till then, we demand that implementation be put on hold.’’

Giving an example, Patil said, “Fasting was an effective weapon in the freedom struggle, but is now being criminalized as an attempt to commit suicide. This is to suppress democratic protests. We will bring in an amendment to prevent any attempt to suppress protest.’’

He said that some laws are vague. “While a new term ‘organised crime’ has been added, its definition is vague and absurd. It has given unilateral and discretionary powers to investigating agencies to prosecute individuals based on vague interpretations. New terminologies are used for land grabbing, contract killing, cyber crimes etc, but are not meaningfully defined anywhere in the new Act.’’

The new Indian Citizens’ Protection Code provides for police custody of up to 90 days. “This is a violation of human rights. It will be amended to reduce it to the shortest time, and to give courts the power to seize the property of the accused in a criminal case, which needs to be changed.’’

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