The Home Ministry is all set to overhaul the Indian Penal Code (IPC) designed by the British. A senior government official said rebooting the code introduced by the British in 1860 was necessary as it is primarily based on the spirit of “master and servant.”
On September 28, Home Minister Amit Shah while speaking at a function in Delhi had said that the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) should work on a proposal to amend various sections of the IPC and the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.PC) after seeking suggestions from people across the country.
He said that in the British era, the police were raised to protect their interests, but now their duty is to “protect the people,” adding that since Independence more than 34,000 policemen across the country lost their lives in the line of duty.
Recently the Ministry wrote to all States and Union Territories seeking suggestions to amend various sections of the IPC.
Two committees comprising legal luminaries have also been constituted by the Ministry.
“The idea behind the overhaul is that the master-servant concept envisaged in IPC should change. After it was framed, the IPC has never been amended in totality. Some additions and deletions have been made,” the official said.
He explained that there was uneven punishment for crimes of grievous nature. “For example — snatching of chains or bags on road. It could be life-threatening in some cases but the punishment is not commensurate with the gravity of the crime. Depending on the whims of the police, it is booked under robbery or theft. We have to standardise the punishment,” he added.
In 2016, the Home Ministry had proposed insertion of two stricter anti-racial discrimination provisions in the IPC. The two amendments — Section 153A and Section 509A “to deal with racially motivated crimes” received lukewarm response from the States.