Former CJI Lalit hails newly-enacted criminal laws

Former CJI Lalit hails newly-enacted criminal laws

  • Say a good exercise with wholesome provisions designed to achieve the greater good
  • Adds new laws have been devised and enacted by us, by our people, rather than being thrust upon us

Hyderabad: Former Chief Justice of India, UU Lalit said that the enactment of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita-2023 (BNS-2023) is a welcome step as the “new laws have been devised and enacted by us, by our people, rather than being thrust upon us.” Delivering his keynote address as chief guest at a seminar on BNS-2023, organised under the aegis of the India Foundation and NALSAR University of Law, here on Saturday, he welcomed the new penal code of the BNS that will come into force, he added.

He called the new criminal laws a “good exercise” with “wholesome provisions designed to achieve the greater good.” Citing the new provisions included in the new laws enhances the punishment for culpable homicide in hit-and-run cases.

Referring to the case of Bala Gandgadhar Tilak Vs Emperor related to the sedition in the pre-independence era, he termed Parliament did a great service by including “endangering the sovereignty and unity of the country” instead of mere criticism of the government and a government official amounting to an act against the nation. By this, Parliament put the law on the highest pedestal, he said.

Justice Lalit referred to the provisions related to rape in the new laws should have been gender neutral. But, unfortunately, the legislature did not consider the earlier recommendations made to make it gender-neutral in the aftermath of the Nirbhya incident that rocked the entire nation. Further, the age criteria and punishment related to the rape is another aspect which the former CJI highlighted. The offences related to conspiracy with a common objective are some other provisions where an element of doubt arises, he pointed out.

That apart, the former CJI highlighted the crimes related to cryptocurrency and cybercrimes, the nature of transnational jurisdiction, vicarious liability in the case of negligence relating to the medical profession, and identity and legal persona of virtual persons and other issues in his keynote address.

Additional Solicitor General for Telangana, Narasimha Sharma termed the enactment of laws as a salutary step that needs to be welcomed. However, there should be a periodical supervision and recommendation process to the legislature on the way the new laws are going to be implemented.

NALSAR Vice-Chancellor Srikrishna Deva Rao pointed out that the overarching goal of the new laws is to come up with a citizen-centric architecture that ensures ease of living and provides speed of justice to the people.

Former MLC and senior advocate N. Ramchander Rao said that the decolonisation of the criminal justice system has been felt for a long, and the system should meet the needs of the hour of society in contemporary times. Against this backdrop, new legislation has been brought. Retaining some provisions, adding some and removing the outdated provisions, make bringinging the new laws a reformist move.

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