New Delhi: Controversy has arisen that the ‘Sedition Act’ has not been abolished in the bill tabled in the Lok Sabha to replace the Indian criminal laws, but rather it has been strengthened in a different form.
Amit Shah tabled 3 bills namely Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, Bharatiya Naya Sanhita Bill and Bharatiya Sakshava Bill in the Lok Sabha today. He said that these three bills will replace the existing Indian Penal Code of 1860, Criminal Procedure Code of 1898 and Indian Evidence Act of 1872. Amit Shah said that these bills have been brought with the aim of bringing about a major reform in the Indian criminal justice system and said that when these bills become law, the Sedition Act will be repealed.
But rather than repealing the Sedition Act, the features of the Bill suggest that it has been strengthened in a different form. Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code currently in force describes the crime of sedition and the punishment for it. As an alternative to this, in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, which has been tabled by the Central Government, the punishment for treason has been explained in Article 150. In it, instead of the word treason, the words ‘acting against the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the country’ are included.
Article 150 provides that any person who willfully or knowingly, by words, speech, writing, signs, electronic communication or otherwise, promotes separatism, engages in armed agitation or promotes separatist sentiments is an act which endangers the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India. Such offense is punishable with imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and fine.
But Section 124A of the current Sedition Act contains similar definitions. At the same time, the offense is punishable with imprisonment for life, with fine for life or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years. Further, comments expressing displeasure against the actions of the Government are not offenses under this section. Also, comments that incite or attempt to incite disaffection against the government are not offenses under the Sedition Act.
Death penalty for gang murders: Earlier, the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who tabled 3 bills in the Lok Sabha, said that through this, there will be a major reform in Indian criminal laws. He also said that the central government is planning to bring a law that would impose the death penalty on those involved in gang murders.
Amit Shah said that 313 changes have been made in the Indian criminal justice system through the Bharatiya Suraksha Sanhita Bill, which will increase the chance of conviction to 90 percent.
Amit Shah said that the 3 laws to be changed were brought during the British era to protect the administration of the British, and said that these were intended to punish and not to provide justice. He said that the rights of Indians will be protected through these new 3 bills.
Amit Shah said that regarding these 3 new bills, the views of the concerned people have been asked and the features suggested in it have been added and these bills have been tabled after the last 4 years of discussion. He said that these bills have been prepared with an aim to ensure the safety of citizens and ensure timely access to justice.
Amit Shah said that the police department has confirmed that they will not abuse their powers through this bill and the opinions of the Bar Council and the Law Commission have been included in these bills. Amit Shah said that even if the accused is absconding, the investigation has been made possible and separatism and waging war against the country have been defined separately under this new law.