Criminal laws passed 'forcibly, INDIA will not allow ' bulldozer justice' in parl system: Cong

Three new criminal laws came into effect in the country on Monday, bringing far-reaching changes in India's criminal justice system.
Congress on the new criminal law establishment and functioning
Congress on the new criminal law establishment and functioning

New Delhi | With the three new criminal laws coming into effect, the Congress on Monday accused the government of getting them "forcibly" passed in Parliament after suspending 146 MPs and asserted that going forward, the INDIA bloc will not allow such "bulldozer justice" to prevail in the country's parliamentary system.

Three new criminal laws came into effect in the country on Monday, bringing far-reaching changes in India's criminal justice system.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) take into account some of the current social realities and modern-day crimes. The new laws replaced the British-era Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act, respectively.

In a post in Hindi on X, Kharge said, "After the political and moral shock in the elections, Modi ji and the BJP are pretending to respect the Constitution, but the truth is that the three laws of the criminal justice system which are being implemented from today, were passed forcibly after suspension of 146 MPs." "INDIA will no longer allow this 'bulldozer justice' to prevail in the parliamentary system," he asserted.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh also took a swipe at the government after the first FIR was lodged under the new laws.

"The first FIR has already been filed under Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita 2023. It is by Delhi Police against a street vendor for obstruction, after he was earning his daily livelihood under a foot-over bridge of New Delhi Railway Station," Ramesh said.

Delhi Police registered its first FIR under provisions of the new criminal code the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita against a street vendor selling water and tobacco products from a cart that allegedly obstructed a public way in central Delhi's Kamala Market area on Monday, officials said.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram also slammed the government as the new criminal laws came into effect and said it was another case of "bulldozing" existing laws and replacing them with three new bills without adequate discussion and debate.

In a post on X, Chidambaram said, "90-99 per cent of the so-called new laws are a cut, copy and paste job. A task that could have been completed with a few amendments to the existing three laws has been turned into a wasteful exercise." "Yes, there are a few improvements in the new laws and we have welcomed them. They could have been introduced as amendments. On the other hand, there are several retrograde provisions. Some changes are prima facie unconstitutional," he said.

MPs, who were members of the standing committee, pored over the provisions and wrote detailed dissent notes to the three bills, the senior leader said.

Chidambaram added the government did not rebut or answer any of the criticisms in the dissent notes and there was no worthwhile debate in Parliament.

"Law scholars, bar associations, judges and lawyers have in numerous articles and seminars pointed out the grave deficiencies in the three new laws. No one in government has cared to answer the questions," he said.

"It is another case of bulldozing three existing laws and replace them with three new Bills without adequate discussion and debate," Chidambaram said.

The initial impact will be to throw the administration of criminal justice into disarray, he said.

"In the medium term, numerous challenges to the laws will be instituted in various courts. In the long term, further changes must be made to the three laws to bring them in conformity with the Constitution and the modern principles of criminal jurisprudence," Chidambaram said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who piloted the laws, had said the new laws would give priority to providing justice, unlike the British-era laws that gave primacy to penal action.

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said the Congress' concern was that the bills were passed without discussion.

"Something as important and as far reaching as this. Many of us had called for an overhaul of the IPC but we wanted a discussion and the discussion never took place and that is something very regrettable in a democracy like ours," he told reporters outside Parliament.

Congress MP Manish Tewari hit out at the government over the issue, saying these three new criminal laws are pernicious in nature and draconian in their implementation.

"They will throw a spanner in the works of the Indian criminal justice system. From today, two parallel systems will be in play. All those cases registered before June 30, 2024, midnight will be prosecuted under the old system and those cases registered after June 30, 2024, midnight will be prosecuted under the new system," he said.

"There are 3.4 crore pending cases and a bulk of them are criminal cases. So, there is going to be utter confusion," he said.

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