Comprehensive Amendment Of Criminal Laws Including IPC Is Underway, Government Tells Parliament

by Swarajya Staff - Feb 3, 2022 10:54 PM +05:30 IST
Comprehensive Amendment Of Criminal Laws Including IPC Is Underway, Government Tells ParliamentParliament (Swarajya Magazine)

The government today told in the Rajya Sabha that the process for comprehensive reform of the criminal justice system has been initiated.

The central government has already started the process of comprehensive amendment of criminal laws in consultation with all stakeholders- the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Kumar Mishra said in Rajya Sabha that amending criminal laws is a continuous process to make the laws in accordance with contemporary needs and aspirations of people.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs in its 111th, 128th and 146th reports had recommended that there is a need for a comprehensive review of criminal laws of the country, he said.

"The Government of India has initiated the process for comprehensive amendments to criminal laws viz. the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 in consultation with all stakeholders," he said replying to a written question.

The minister said the legislation of such laws is a complex and lengthy exercise given the spectrum of divergent views of stakeholders.

The criminal justice system broadly consists of the laws, the police, the prisons and the courts. The government has taken several steps on all fronts in the past couple of years. The Union Budget 2022 hiked the allocation for the Ministry of Home Affairs this year to Rs 1,85,776.55 crore, a 11.5 per cent increase over the previous year.

The Intelligence Bureau’s budget has been increased by around 10 per cent. The Nirbhaya Fund meant for implementing measures for women’s safety, will receive Rs 200 crore, double the allocation from last year.

This year, the government has reportedly allocated funds for major plans, majority of which had no allocation last year- the modernisation of prisons at Rs 400 crore; Modernization Plan IV for Central Armed Police at Rs 248.30 crore; Inter Operable Criminal Justice System at Rs 590.60 crore; Emergency Response Support System at Rs 150 crore; Women Help Desk and Strengthening of Anti-Human Trafficking Bureau at Rs 28 crore; and modernization of forensic capacities at Rs 300 crore.

The government has brought ‘Tech for Justice’ initiative. The e-courts integrated mission mode project provides online services to litigants such as details of case registration, cause list, case status, daily orders, and final judgments. It connects the SC, the HCs and the subordinate courts.

A platform for pro bono legal service has also been launched, apart from the Tele law- portal for legal aid; paralegal volunteers at Common Service Centres, and a team of SLSA to help marginalised sections with legal advice as well as Nyay Mitras in districts to help with high delay and pendency.

The National Judicial Data Grid will help in seamless transfer of data and communication. The government has also launched Legal Information Management & Briefing System (LIMBS) to monitor government litigation which is said to constitute a major chunk of the total litigation in the country.

The e-Prisons project by MHA is carrying on the computerization of the functioning of prisons. It has MIS, the national information portal, and Kara Bazaar. It is a part of the inter-operable criminal justice system. Under the Fast and Secure Transmission of Electronic Records (FASTER) scheme, the courts can electronically transmit bail and other orders to the jail authorities, district courts and the High Court.

The government has also launched the Crimes and Criminal Tracking Network System, NATGRID, e-FIR, Digital Police Portal. It is implementing the SMART model for the police and provides support to the state governments for the modernisation of police forces.

(With inputs from PTI)

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