Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah seeking that the new criminal laws not be rushed and consensus be built on them first. Overhauling the existing laws without proper consultation will have far-reaching implications on polity, she has argued. Mr Shah is on a visit to Bengal today.
The Centre has drafted three bills to replace the colonial-era Indian Penal Code, The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. The new laws are Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam,which are expected to be passed in the coming winter session of parliament.
"I strongly believe that these are very significant legislations that form the bedrock of our penal-criminal jurisprudence. As such, the proposed overhauling of the existing criminal-penal statutes and replacing them with new statutes is bound to have far-reaching long-term implications on our polity," Ms Banerjee said in her letter to Mr Shah.
She contended that the suggested changes will also affect public life in he country.
"I do hope that keeping the sensitivity of the subject in mind, you will kindly attempt to arrive at consensus-building amongst all stakeholders on the proposed bills, rather than rushing to pass them in their present form, which has potential implications of serious nature in future," Ms Banerjee said.
The INDIA alliance has opposed the proposed laws and have given strong statements on it earlier Given the general election due next year, they suggested that the bills be revisited once the new government comes in next year.
The Opposition members have also given dissent notes to the criminal bills in the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
Ms Banerjee is the first to seek time for passage of the criminal law bills and is expected to get unanimous support from other Opposition parties who are part of the INDIA alliance.