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PIL in SC against implementation of three new criminal laws

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New Delhi, June 27: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed before the Supreme Court against the implementation of the new criminal laws abolishing the colonial era IPC, CrPC and Evidence Act. It may be recalled that the top court in May this year had refused to entertain a similar PIL saying that the plea was liable to be dismissed.

The fresh plea, filed through advocate Sanjeev Malhotra, seeks directions to immediately constitute an expert committee to assess, identify the viability of the three criminal laws namely, Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA).

It said, “The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita retains most offences from the Indian Penal Code, 1860. It adds community service as a form of punishment. Sedition is no longer an offence. Instead, there is a new offence for acts endangering the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India. The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita adds terrorism as an offence.”

The PIL said that the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023, allows up to 15 days of police custody, which can be authorised in parts during the initial 40 or 60 days of the 60 or 90 days’ period of judicial custody.

“This may lead to denial of bail for the entire period if the police have not exhausted the 15 days custody…and the provision could be misused since people, particularly those hailing from marginalised backgrounds, may be subjected to extreme custodial violence,” it added.

Further, the plea said that there remains irregularity in the passing of laws in the Parliament as many members of Parliament were suspended with very less people participating in the passing of the three Bills. It referred to the speech made by former Chief Justice of India, NV Ramana expressing his concern regarding enacting laws without debate in the Parliament as it leaves ambiguity in legislation and leads to a lot of litigation.

“The Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023 retains most provisions of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 including those on confessions, relevancy of facts, and burden of proof,” the PIL said. In a press statement, the Bar Council of India (BCI) on Wednesday urged all Bar associations across the country to refrain from any form of agitation or protest against the introduction of new criminal laws and said that it will initiate discussions with the Union Government to convey the concerns of the legal fraternity.

IANS

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