Parliamentary Panel Defers Adopting Draft Report on Bills to Replace Criminal Laws


Three opposition members filed dissent notes, demanding changes to the Bills that seek to replace the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, according to reports.


New Delhi: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs did not adopt the draft report on the three Bills that seek to replace existing criminal laws on Friday as scheduled, as opposition members sought more to examine it.

According to The Hindu, while the English version of the draft report was circulated last week, the Hindi version was sent to the panel’s members only on Thursday evening, hours before it was slated to be adopted.

The newspaper reported that Congress MPs Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary and Digivijay Singh, and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP N.R. Elango have filed dissent notes to chairman Brijlal, demanding changes to the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023 (to replace the Indian Penal Code), and the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023 (to replace the Code of Criminal Procedure).

There is “unanimity” in the draft report regarding the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023 which will replace the Indian Evidence Act, The Hindu reported.

The Bills were introduced in August, during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, by Union home minister Amit Shah and were immediately sent to the standing committee.

According to reports, the panel is scheduled to meet again on November 6. The panel has held 12 meetings so far on the three Bills, which opposition members feel is inadequate given the changes that they propose.

After Friday’s meeting began, according to The Hindu, panel chairman Brijlal, a BJP MP, told the members that the draft reports would be withheld but did not provide the reasons for doing so.

The Trinamool Congress, whose MPs Derek O’Brien and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar had travelled to Delhi for the meeting, criticised the chairman for not providing the reasons. Their party had written to Brijlal on Friday morning, saying that the committee should seek an extension of at least three months to submit its report on the Bills.

Congress MP P. Chidambaram had also sought more time and increased consultations on the Bills.

According to The Hindu, DMK MP. Elango raised “three key points” at Friday’s meeting. The Bills need “extensive consultations” with governments and stakeholders in the states, he said. He also criticised the Hindi nomenclature of the Bills for being “exclusionary for a large section of the country”. He added that because the Bills are “largely a copy of the existing codes”, the government could have sought to amend the laws instead of bringing in new legislation, according to the newspaper.

Earlier reports said that the draft report recommends that a gender-neutral provision criminalising adultery should be brought in, as well as criminalising non-consensual sex between men, women or transpersons.

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