The parliamentary committee may recommend re-criminalize of a married woman adultery with a man and Section 377.
Also, the committee can suggest using other words for words like life imprisonment.
According to media reports, the committee will soon submit its report to the Home Ministry, however, the Ministry is not bound to accept these proposals.
This committee is considering three bills to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Evidence Act.
The parliamentary committee met on 27 October, but did not accept the draft report. Keeping in mind the arguments of some opposition members, the committee has sought time for further study on the draft.
Some opposition members, including Congress leader P. Chidambaram, urged committee chairman Brij Lal to extend the time given for taking a decision on DOFT by three months.
Members said that it is not right to push these bills for electoral gains. Now the next meeting to consider the draft will be held on November 6.
These bills were introduced in Parliament on 11 August. In August itself, the draft related to this was sent to the Standing Committee on Home Affairs. The committee has been given three months to accept this draft.
Now know about adultery law…
If a married woman has a relationship with another man. In such a situation, the husband could file a case against that person under adultery law. This was a crime under section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, in which there was a provision for five years of imprisonment and fine on the accused. In such cases, neither a case was registered against the woman nor there was a provision to punish her.
In 2018, the adultery law was repealed by the Supreme Court. The then Chief Justice Deepak Mishra had called this law unconstitutional. He said that adultery cannot be considered a crime.
This decision was given by the five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on the PIL of Joseph Shiney. In the suggestions that the committee can give regarding adultery law, it can be said that both men and women should be punished in such cases.
Committee’s suggestions regarding Section 377:
The committee also discussed Section 377, which criminalizes homosexual relations. The Supreme Court had also canceled this five years ago. The committee will recommend that it is mandatory to re-enact and retain Section 377 of the IPC.
The committee says that even after the court’s decision, the provisions of Section 377 are applicable in cases of non-consensual sex, but after removing any reference to Section 377 from the Indian Justice Code, men, women, transgenders, etc. There was no provision for related sexual offences. Therefore the panel may ask the government to include Section 377 of the IPC.
Apart from this, the committee may recommend increasing the punishment from six months to five years in cases of death due to negligence and reducing the punishment from two years to 12 months for unauthorized protests.
On August 11, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had introduced bills to amend three 163-year-old fundamental laws in the Lok Sabha. The biggest change is regarding the treason law, which will be brought in a new form.
These bills are Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and Evidence Act.
Many sections and provisions will now change. There are 511 sections in IPC, now 356 will be left. 175 sections will change. 8 new sections will be added, 22 sections will be eliminated.
Similarly, 533 sections will be left in CrPC. 160 sections will change, 9 new ones will be added, 9 will end. There will be a provision to conduct interrogation till trial through video conference, which was not there earlier.
The biggest change is that now the trial court will have to give every decision within a maximum of 3 years. There are 5 crore cases pending in the country. Of these, 4.44 crore cases are in the trial court. Similarly, out of 25,042 posts of judges in district courts, 5,850 posts are vacant.
All three bills have been sent to the parliamentary committee for scrutiny. After this they will be passed in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Not treason, now treason: The word treason of the British era will be replaced by the word treason. Made the provisions more stringent. Now, under Section 150, any act against the nation, whether spoken or written, or done through sign or picture or electronic means, will be punishable with imprisonment from 7 years to life. Threatening the unity and sovereignty of the country would be a crime. The word terrorism also defined. Currently, under Section 124A of the IPC, the punishment for treason ranges from 3 years to life imprisonment.
Community Punishment: 24 hours imprisonment or fine of Rs 1,000 for first time minor offenses (drunken riot, theft less than Rs 5,000). The punishment may be a fine or community service. Currently, people are sent to jail for such crimes. There is such a law in America and UK.
Mob lynching: provision of death penalty. If 5 or more people commit murder on the basis of caste, race or language, then the minimum punishment will be 7 years or death sentence. There is no clear law yet. Action is taken under sections 302, 147-148.
According to the government demand, extensive opinion polling has been done before introducing the bill. According to the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, law and order and police are state subjects. There is a national debate on the Uniform Civil Code through the Law Commission, hence a meaningful debate in the country with consultation with the states is necessary before making changes in criminal laws.
Government’s preparation: These changes have been made after 4 years of discussion.
The government said that apart from 18 states, 6 union territories, Supreme Court, 22 High Courts, judicial institutions, 142 MPs and 270 MLAs, the public also made these changes. Suggestions have been given regarding the bills.
After four years of discussion and 158 meetings during this period, the government has introduced the bill. The first meeting for these changes was held in September 2019 in room number G-74 of the Library of Parliament House. There was no progress in this for a year during Corona.