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Parliamentary Panel Resists Draft Report On Replacing Criminal Laws; Opposition Seeks Extension

The committee is scheduled to convene on November 6 and might proceed to approve the draft report, despite objections from certain members representing opposition parties.

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Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)
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The parliamentary committee responsible for reviewing three bills aimed at replacing current criminal laws postponed the adoption of its draft report, originally scheduled for Friday, in light of requests from some opposition members who expressed the need for additional time to thoroughly examine it.

Certain members of the opposition have requested the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Home Affairs, Brij Lal, to seek a three-month extension of its term and "stop bulldozing these bills for short-term electoral gain".

For making robust legislation that serves the marginalised, the committee should not adopt a final report in the next few days or in November. "We will be mocking the process of legislative scrutiny if we do so," an opposition MP said in a communication, according to opposition sources.

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According to PTI, the committee has undertaken a comprehensive consultation process and is on track to meet its three-month deadline.

The committee is scheduled to convene on November 6 and might proceed to approve the draft report, despite objections from certain members representing opposition parties.

Rushing the functioning of the committee would be a "gross" legislative disservice, opposition members have told Brij Lal, a BJP MP. It was also pointed out in the meeting that the bill's Hindi version was circulated among them only a day before.

During the Monsoon session, Home Minister Amit Shah presented three bills in Lok Sabha, with the aim of completely revamping the colonial-era criminal laws, namely the Indian Penal Code (IPC), The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. The proposed replacements are Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, respectively.

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Following their introduction on August 11, the House forwarded these bills to the committee for examination and requested the submission of a report within three months.

Reportedly, some opposition members, including P Chidambaram from the Congress and Derek O'Brien from the TMC, had written to the committee's chair, requesting additional time to review the draft report and provide their feedback, considering that it involves three distinct bills.

PTI said it is also indicated that the committee is likely to propose a series of amendments to the three bills while retaining their Hindi names. This has sparked controversy among opposition MPs, including those from the DMK, who have advocated for English names for the proposed laws.

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