In The Name Of Reform…

Indian Penal Code (IPC) replaced by Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita  , Indian Civil Protection Code replaced Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita , Indian Evidence Act (IEA) replaced by Bharatiya Sakshya  — these bills were recently introduced by the Union Government led by the Home Minister in parliament.

The aim is to implement them into law soon. The minister told, the aim is to remove or modernize the 19th century British and colonial-Gandhi laws and make them suitable for India. Terrorism will have a precise definition; Harsh punishments and even death penalty have been recommended for crimes such as lynching, sexual abuse of minors and gang rape. 

Again, although the wording like the Sedition Act has been officially withdrawn, a new Sedition Act has been introduced, expanding its scope.

When the aim is to reform the country’s legal system, it is expected to be done democratically – by discussing with the opposition parties and examining all aspects.

 But in this case too, the traditional tendency of the ruling party was seen as without waiting for arguments and discussions, the bill was introduced. 

Time is also worth watching. On the last day of the new session of the Parliament, three bills were suddenly included in the list of additional work of the Lok Sabha at the last minute, and Amit Shah, after presenting it in the Lok Sabha, sent it to the Standing Committee of the Ministry of Home Affairs! 

Opposition parties, including the Congress, have protested this, and their arguments are very sound that before or after sending three such important bills to ministerial committees, the country’s jurists, judges, criminologists, ex-bureaucrats and policemen, and even human rights, women’s rights and civil rights activists  need to be discussed

Their opinion needs to be taken. Before British-era laws are simply dismissed as ‘century-old’, new laws need to be scrutinized and critiqued at every nook and cranny, which can only be done by experts in law, crime and rights.

 This is not just a matter of a party or a government, these laws have a direct link to the constitution-recognised fundamental right, the life of the citizen. But where is it!

Allegations have also been made of imposing Hindi. Is the title of each bill in Hindi, even desirable in multi-lingual India? 

The accusations of opposition parties like DMK are not unfounded: the BJP is actually trying to throw off British colonialism and impose linguistic imperialism, another form of hegemony that the leaders and ministers of the ruling party often flex through the Hindi language – a roundabout way of enthroning Hindi as the state language. 

The ruling party and the government at the center are used to this way of doing things: taking the strategy step by step, showing a glimpse at a time and then rushing to legalize it, is an unconstitutional, undemocratic blunder. 

However, the constitution, democratic process, healthy arguments, discussions – these are very important for healthy democracy.

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