BCD Urges Home Minister to Stop Implementation of New Criminal Laws

New Criminal Laws v BCD

The Vice-Chairman, Secretary and two members of the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) have jointly written a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, urging him to reconsider the implementation of the three proposed criminal laws. So that a situation of anarchy does not arise after the implementation of the law.

These laws, which are going to come into effect from July 1, will replace the current Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Indian Evidence Act. In their letter, Bar Council representative Vice Chairman Sanjeev Nasiyar, Secretary Kumar Mukesh, former Chairman and Member KC Mittal and Former Vice Chairman and Member Himal Akhtar have expressed serious concern. These Bar officials have said that the government should have considered the recommendations of Justice Malimath Committee instead of new criminal laws. There is confusion in the new laws and at some places the police have been given such powers which violate human rights.
For example, according to the laws in force till now, police remand of any accused is admissible for a maximum of 15 days. Whereas in the new laws it has been reduced from 60 to 90 days. This greatly increases the chances of harassment of the accused. Similarly, giving the police the power to impose handcuffs may raise questions on the personal reputation of the accused.
Officials of the Bar Council of Delhi have also said that instead of enacting new laws, there is a need to reform the Police Act and policing. So that there is quick and fair investigation and the victim gets speedy justice. Also, the chances of any innocent being harassed should also be reduced. He said that due to the new laws, there are more chances of establishing police rule in the country.
Similarly, raising questions on solitary confinement, it has been said that under Section 11 of the new law, a provision for solitary punishment has been made. Whereas in the case of Sunil Batra vs Delhi Administration, the Supreme Court has termed solitary confinement as barbaric and inhumane.
Similarly, Bar officials have raised questions on the irrelevance of issues like community service, organized crime, mob lynching, terrorist incidents, road accidents, crimes against national unity and integrity, publication of misleading and false news and information, video trials.

He has said that he emphasizes the basic principle of the rule of law, stressing the importance of prosecution of torture based on a fair and impartial investigation. However, they fear that the proposed amendments could compromise this principle, potentially paving the way for unchecked authority by law enforcement, leading to a scenario similar to a police state rather than adherence to constitutional principles.

The letter highlights linguistic discrepancies, including the mixing of Hindi and English, as well as changes or omissions in certain legal provisions, which have become deeply embedded in the legal framework over time.

Furthermore, delegates expressed apprehension that implementation of these new laws would require extensive re-education of judges, lawyers, police personnel and the general public from the grassroots level up. They argue that this could lead to daily disruption of legal principles and operational challenges, leading to chaos in legal proceedings.

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-Ashish Kumar Sinha -Editor Legally Speaking -Ram Nath Goenka awardee - 14 Years of Experience in Media - Covering Courts Since 2008