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Parliamentary Panel Adopts Reports on Three Criminal Bills, Several Dissent Notes From Opposition

The report prepared by the 30-member committee has suggested many changes in the three Bills.

New Delhi: The parliamentary standing committee tasked with looking into the three Bills meant to replace the Indian Penal Code, CrPC and the Evidence Act, adopted its draft reports on Monday (November 6) with opposition leaders filing several dissent notes along with it.

According to the Indian Express, the report prepared by the 30-member committee headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Brij Lal, suggests many changes in the Bills.

Several members, including Congress’s Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Digvijaya Singh and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK’s) N. R. Elango, have already submitted dissent notes. Others, including former Union home minister P. Chidambaram sought an extension till Thursday to submit their dissent notes but the committee stuck to its earlier deadline of Wednesday, the Economic Times reported.

Opposition sources told the Indian Express that Chidambaram along with All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) members Derek O’ Brien and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar would submit detailed dissent notes and that all 10 opposition members in the panel would submit separate dissent notes.

Also read: The Three Criminal Law Bills: Using Criminal Law to Establish Permanent Extra-Constitutional Emergency Powers

Some opposition members, including DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran, are said to have opposed the usage of Hindi in the Bills as it goes against the spirit of the constitution. However, the committee has not recommended a change of names or English versions of the names in its report.

Some members were also not in favour of bringing terror, corruption and organised crime under the new penal law.

Other recommendations made by members include having a comprehensive definition of community service and what it would entail as the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita – which seeks to replace the Indian Penal Code – prescribes community service as an alternate form of punishment for some minor offences.

The Economic Times reported that the committee has backed a gender-neutral adultery law and punitive measures for non-consensual sex between men, women and transgender people.

It has also proposed a reduction in sentence for those convicted of deterring public servants from discharging their duties.

According to the paper, the committee has also recommended slashing the maximum prison term under Section 353 of the IPC from two years to one – citing that the law is often used against protesters and many members of the committee are of the view that common protesters should be dealt with leniently.

The report will be placed before parliament once the winter session begins, NDTV reported.