New criminal laws will be introduced on 1 July: Meghwal

KOLKATA, 16 Jun: Union Minister of State for Law & Justice (Independent Charge) Arjun Ram Meghwal on Sunday said that the new criminal laws will be introduced from 1 July, dismissing opposition allegations of not being consulted before the decision was made.

Meghwal said that the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Evidence Act will be replaced by the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Act.

He added that necessary training programmes and infrastructure development for implementing the new laws are already underway.

“The three new laws will be implemented from 1 July for providing timely, speedy, and error-free justice,” Meghwal said during a programme themed ‘India’s progressive path in the administration of criminal justice system’ here in West Bengal.

Meghwal addressed allegations of inadequate consultation, saying, “Some people claim they were not consulted. This is untrue. The demand for change of colonial laws has been longstanding, and the process began long ago.”

The minister explained that although suggestions were sought from all states, only 18 states and six union territories responded. “Even the chief justice of India, chief justices of 16 high courts, five law academies, and 22 law universities provided their suggestions,” he said.

“We contacted all MPs, but only 142, including members from both Houses, responded. Suggestions were also requested from all MLAs nationwide, with only 270 responding. We consulted widely, but not everyone provided feedback,” Meghwal added.

“These laws were formulated after four years of thorough consideration. Claims of no consultation are false. Full consultations were held, including 58 meetings chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah,” he emphasised.

Meghwal further explained the necessity of moving away from colonial-era laws due to societal advancements and technological involvement.

“With changing times and new technologies, there must be improvements. Citizens were not receiving timely justice, so we have included zero FIR, mercy petition, and gender neutrality. The system had issues, which is why changes are being made,” he reasoned.

He concluded by stating that the new laws are people-centric and timely, aligning with India’s rapid development.

Also present at the event were Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court TS Sivagnanam, Law & Justice Ministry Secretary Rajiv Mani, and Law Commission of India Member Secretary Reeta Vasishta.

Hopeful about UCC implementation

Meanwhile, Meghwal expressed hope about implementation of the uniform civil code (UCC), contending that some states have started to bring it into force.

“In BJP manifesto, we have mentioned about the UCC. There are states like Goa and Uttarakhand that have started implementing them. The coalition which has been formed in the Centre is a very strong government and there is nothing to worry about,” Meghwal said.

Last week, soon after Meghwal, an MP from the Bikaner constituency, said that the UCC is still on the BJP’s agenda, while the JD (U) said that any such move must come through consensus.

JD (U) leader KC Tyagi said that, while the party is not against the UCC, it wants that such a move should come through a consensus. (PTI)