Bar Council of India asks bar associations to refrain from protest against new criminal laws

Bar Council of India urges legal fraternity to refrain from protests against new criminal laws, promises dialogue and amendments

Updated - June 27, 2024 01:24 pm IST

Published - June 27, 2024 12:21 pm IST - New Delhi

The BCI said it will initiate discussions with the Union Government, represented by the Union Home Minister and the Union Law Minister, to convey the concerns of the legal fraternity.  (Representational image)

The BCI said it will initiate discussions with the Union Government, represented by the Union Home Minister and the Union Law Minister, to convey the concerns of the legal fraternity.  (Representational image) | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Bar Council of India (BCI) has requested the Bar Associations and State Bar Councils across India to refrain from any form of agitation or protest at this juncture against the newly-introduced criminal laws.

In a resolution passed on June 26, the BCI acknowledged the numerous representations received from Bar Associations and State Bar Councils across the nation, expressing strong protests against the newly introduced criminal laws — The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), and The Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA).

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The Bar Associations and State Bar Councils have signalled their intent to engage in indefinite agitations and protests unless these laws are suspended and subjected to thorough nationwide discussions, including a comprehensive review by Parliament.

Some of the concerns raised include several provisions of these new laws are perceived to be anti-people, more draconian than the colonial-era laws they intend to replace, and pose a serious threat to the fundamental rights of citizens.

The BCI noted that several Bar Associations have also called for a fresh examination of the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) asserting that these laws contravene the principles of fundamental rights and natural justice.

The BCI said it will initiate discussions with the Union Government, represented by the Union Home Minister and the Union Law Minister, to convey the concerns of the legal fraternity. The BCI said it will also seek the intervention of the Union Minister for Environment, Bhupendra Yadav, who is an advocate, to mediate in this matter.

“Additionally, the BCI requests all Bar Associations and Senior Advocates to submit specific provisions of the new laws they deem unconstitutional or detrimental, to facilitate a productive dialogue with the Government,” the BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said.

Upon receiving specific suggestions from the Bar Associations, Mr. Mishra said the Council will constitute a committee comprising noted Senior Advocates, former Judges, impartial Social Activists, and Journalists to propose necessary amendments to these new laws.

“The Bar Council of India assures the Bar Associations and the legal fraternity that these issues are being taken seriously and there is no cause for immediate concern. Consequently, there is no immediate necessity for agitation, protests, or strikes in relation to this issue,” Mr. Mishra said.

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