Criminal Law Reform

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Criminal Law Reform

The Union Home Minister has sought suggestions from the Chief Justice of India, MPs and Chief Ministers for Criminal Law Reform.

  • Suggestions have been sought for amendments to the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC), 1974 and the Indian Evidence Act (IEA), 1872.
  • Last year, the Home Ministry had constituted a committee to recommend reforms in criminal laws.
  • Various committees including Malimath Committee and Menon Committee have made suggestions for reforms in the overall criminal justice system. The need for reforms in criminal laws is being felt so that they can be adapted to the present needs and aspirations of the people. At the same time, hearing can be speeded up and the investigative system can be improved.

Possible areas of Reform:

  • Identifying the rights of the victim of crime: Victim and witness protection schemes should be implemented. With increased participation of victims in the trial of criminal cases, the role of victims in the criminal justice system will also increase.
  • Declaring certain illegal acts as offenses and re-classification of existing offences: For example, there is a need to look at the question of confession from a new perspective.
  • New forms of punishment: such as community service orders, compensation orders, and other aspects of the justice system that provide opportunities for reform may also be implemented.
  • Penal system based on principles: At present, judges have the discretion to determine the quantum and nature of punishment. They often give different types of punishment to the guilty for offenses of similar nature and/or seriousness.

The IPC governs all criminal acts and the punishments prescribed for it. Cr.P.C lays down how the police machinery functions when the courts follow the investigation and procedure during investigation and trial. The Indian Evidence Act (IEA) governs the admissibility of evidence in courts of law.

Source – The Hindu

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