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Parliament: Criminal Law Bills Passed In LS, More MPs Suspended, Row Over Dhankhar’s Mimicry | Top Points

The laws were passed amid the suspension of 143 Opposition members following protests over the recent Parliament security breach.

L: Amit Shah speaking in Lok Sabha | R: TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee mimicking Jagdeep Dhankhar.
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Ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Centre government on Wednesday passed three crucial bills that would replace the colonial-era criminal laws in Lok Sabha in absence of Opposition.

The three bills including  the Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita, 2023, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita, 2023 and the Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill, 2023, will replace the Indian Penal Code of 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) of 1973 and Indian Evidence Act, of 1872.

The laws were passed amid the suspension of 143 Opposition members following protests over the recent Parliament security breach.

The numbers of suspensions in the Lok Sabha reached 97 today, with the suspension of two more MPs.

There has been confrontation between the Opposition and the Centre following the mimicry of Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar by a Trinamool MP Kalyan Banerjee. 

Telecommunication Bill Passed: 

The Telecommunication Bill has also been passed in the Parliament today.

What Home Minister Amit Shah said?

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said  the new bills lay "emphasis on Indianness, the Indian Constitution and the well-being of the people".

"I have gone through every comma, full stop of the new criminal laws,” he said.

A total of 143 MPs have been suspended from the ongoing Winter Session of the Parliament.

2 more MPs suspended

Earlier, amid the ongoing suspension row, the Lok Sabha on Wednesday suspended two more Opposition MPs for the remainder of the Winter Session of Parliament for misconduct. As per PTI, both members, Thomas Chazhikadan and AM Ariff , are from Kerala. While Chazhikadan is from Kerala Congress (M), AM Ariff belongs to the CPM.

Opposition lawmakers hit out at the government after 49 more Lok Sabha members were suspended from the House on Tuesday, a day after a total of 78 -- 33 from the Lower House and 45 from the Upper House -- lawmakers were suspended from Parliament for disrupting proceedings.

Last week, the Lok Sabha suspended 13 members for the remaining part of the Winter Session for waving placards and disrupting proceedings over the Parliament security breach issue.  Trinamool member Derek O'Brien was suspended from the Rajya Sabha for the remainder of the Winter Session for "unruly" behaviour.

The total number of suspended MPs now stands at 143, meaning that the ruling BJP currently faces minimal opposition in both Houses of Parliament.

In another development from Parliament, a political controversy over mimicry of Jagdeep Dhankhar by TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee reached PM Modi on Wednesday, who slammed the Opposition for their "abject theatrics". TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee also addressed the mimicry issue, over which members of BJP-led NDA have decided to stand for an hour in Rajya Sabha to show solidarity with Jagdeep Dhankhar.

Parliament Winter Session - Top Updates

1. The Lok Sabha Secretariat has issued a circular, barring the suspended MPs from entering the Parliament chamber, lobby and galleries. The suspended MPs would also not be entitled to the daily allowance as long as their suspension continues.

2. BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah tabled the three criminal law Bills in Lok Sabha and explained several provisions. He proposed that under new crime bills, sedition would be applicable only when it targets the country. Shah also explained that there is a proposal for capital punishment if one is convicted for mob lynching. 

3. A political row erupted after TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee appeared to be mocking Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar during a protest outside the parliament premises. Dhankar termed the mimicry as “ridiculous” and “unacceptable”. He claimed that he was 'personally hurt' as his farmer background was 'targeted'.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday spoke to Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar about the incident and expressed 'great pain' at the 'abject theatrics of some MPs', the VP secretariat said in a statement.

4. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi on Wednesday said members of BJP-led NDA alliance would stand in Rajya Sabha for an hour to express support to Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar. 

5. At the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting on Wednesday, chairperson Sonia Gandhi said democracy has been 'strangulated' by this government. "Never before have so many Opposition Members of Parliament been suspended from the house, and that too, simply for raising a perfectly reasonable and legitimate demand," she said.

6. Among the important Bills that will be taken up today in the House are the criminal law amendment Bills that seek to replace the Indian Penal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, and the Indian Evidence Act. Union Home Minister Amit Shah is expected to address the House and move that the Bills be passed. Women MPs from the BJP said that they haven't been given enough time to speak on the Bills in the House, even though the Bills give priority to tackling crimes against women and children. 

7. Apart from these, the Lok Sabha is also set to pass the Telecommunications Bill, 2023, and the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Bill, 2023.

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8. Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge announced that the INDIA bloc will hold a nationwide protest on Friday, December 22 against the "undemocratic" suspension of 141 MPs from the Parliament. The bloc also passed a resolution in their fourth meeting on Tuesday, condemning the mass suspensions.

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