President Droupadi Murmu gives assent to the three Criminal Code bills

Congress leaders says these bill will have to be reviewed “lock,stock and barrel”

December 25, 2023 07:41 pm | Updated December 26, 2023 06:14 pm IST - New Delhi

President Droupadi Murmu. File.

President Droupadi Murmu. File. | Photo Credit: PTI

President Draupadi Murmu on December 25 gave her assent to the three new criminal code bills, which were cleared by Parliament last week.

These new laws — the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Act — will replace the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, while replying to the debate in Parliament, had said said the new bills focus on delivering justice instead of handing down punishment.

The three bills seek to overhaul the criminal justice system by giving definition of various offences and their punishments. It defines terrorism clearly and has introduced a new section titled “offences against the state” while abolishing sedition as a crime.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita lists offences such as acts of secession, armed rebellion, subversive activities, separatist activities or endangering the sovereignty or unity in the new version of the sedition law.

All fresh First Information Reports (FIR) will be registered under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita and not the Indian Penal Code. 

The Opposition parties belonging to the INDIA bloc have strongly opposed the bills and, at a meeting of floor leaders, had explored to approach the courts once the bills receive presidential assent.

In a long post on X, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who is also a senior advocate in the Supreme Court, asserted that the “new Indian Penal Code has become more draconian” and contains many provisions that “are unconstitutional and violate Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution”.

  

“Instead of strengthening ‘due process of law’, the new Criminal Procedure Code contains many provisions that severely restrict ‘freedom’ and ‘personal liberty’. The new provisions for arrest and police custody (that can extend custody upto 60 days or 90 days) will only lead to police excesses and custodial persecution,” Mr Chidambaram said.

His party colleague and Lok Sabha Manish Tewari added that these laws “will have to reviewed lock stock and barrel as the government has empowered 17379 Police Stations across the country and has disempowered 140 crore people concurrently”.

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