MK Stalin Urges Centre to Reconsider New Criminal Laws, Citing Haste and Constitutional Concerns

Stalin says laws were passed in haste, ‘without adequate deliberations and consultations’

·       New laws need review with key stakeholders, says Stalin

·       Stalin points out issues and constitutional violations in new laws

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has voiced strong objections to the recent enactment of three new criminal laws by the Union Government, urging Union Home Minister Amit Shah to withdraw them pending further consultation and review.

In a detailed letter addressed to Shah, Stalin highlighted several critical concerns regarding the replacement of the longstanding Indian Penal Code (IPC) of 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) of 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 with new legislations named Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) 2023, Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) 2023, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhamiya (BSA) 2023.

Stalin emphasized that the enactment of these new laws, scheduled to take effect from July 1, was done hastily without adequate deliberation and consultation with the states. He pointed out that these enactments fall within the concurrent list of the Constitution of India, which mandates extensive consultation with state governments. According to Stalin, this crucial step was not sufficiently undertaken, thus neglecting the states’ rightful participation in the legislative process.

Furthermore, Stalin criticized the decision to rename the Acts in Sanskrit, viewing it as a violation of Article 348 of the Constitution. This article specifies that all Acts passed by Parliament shall be in English or Hindi, unless the Legislature of the State adopts any other language for use in the proceedings of that Legislature. Stalin argued that the use of Sanskrit for naming the Acts not only disregards constitutional provisions but also undermines linguistic diversity in a country known for its multilingualism.

The chief minister also pointed out specific errors and ambiguities within the new laws. For instance, he highlighted inconsistencies in the prescribed punishments for different classes of offenses under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS). Stalin stressed that such discrepancies need to be addressed through comprehensive discussions and revisions involving academic institutions and stakeholders in the legal sector.

Moreover, Stalin underscored the practical challenges associated with implementing the new laws. He cited the urgent need for capacity building in judiciary, police, prisons, prosecution, and forensic departments to ensure effective enforcement of the revised legal framework. Stalin also noted the importance of revising syllabi in law colleges and updating operational procedures, which he argued cannot be adequately achieved within the current timelines stipulated by the central government.

“There are significant errors in these enactments,” Stalin asserted in his letter. “Ambiguous or self-contradictory provisions in BNSS and BNS require thorough examination and rectification before they are implemented.”

In conclusion, Stalin urged the Union Government to reconsider the new enactments and engage in meaningful consultations with all states and stakeholders. He emphasized that addressing these concerns is crucial to ensure that the legislative changes uphold constitutional principles and serve the best interests of justice and governance in the country.

The chief minister’s detailed letter reflects Tamil Nadu’s firm stance on the recent legislative changes and underscores the state’s commitment to upholding constitutional values and ensuring a consultative approach in shaping criminal laws that have far-reaching implications for the nation.

 (With inputs from agencies)

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