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Mains Answer Writing

One of the key components of these exams is the written test, which consists of a number of essay and comprehension questions. Candidates are expected to write clear and well-structured answers that demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the topics being tested.

18-August-2023

Q1. The introduction of 3 new bills to overhaul the IPC has created quite a storm. Analyze some of the issues related to the new codes comment on its feasibility.

Solution 

  • The recent introduction of three Bills to reform India’s criminal laws has opened up debates about its utilities.
  • Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Bill will be replacing IPC, CrPC, and Indian Evidence Act.
  • The task of testing their sustainability, efficacy, adherence to rule of law, and justice delivery capacity, becomes paramount.

Some of the major issues with the new codes:

  1. Even though the government has taken the extremely difficult task of improving the IPC in terms of precision, comprehensibility and accessibility, unfortunately, for most crimes, the new code has not been able to improve the definition clauses and has merely clubbed penal sections with the definition sections.
  2. The term subversive activities” again widens the scope with no definition of subversive activities given in the code.
  3. The inclusion of financial means in this section is unnecessary as terror financing has been included in the offence of terrorist acts, where the stringent special law of UAPA has been incorporated in the general code itself.
  4. The new code does not improve definitions of words like “culpable homicide”, ”murder” except for punishing killings in mob lynching by five or more persons without using the term “mob lynching”. But unlike ordinary murder where minimum punishment is life imprisonment, the new mob lynching murder may have just seven years’ imprisonment.
  1. The retention of the death penalty shows the government continues to believe in the dated ideas of retribution and deterrence. It keeps India in the company of China, USA, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia etc.
  2. The death penalty has been provided for the rape of a minor. The much-abused crime of cruelty has not been made gender-neutral, despite this being one of the rationales for the new code.
  3. The new code also has not made any improvements on the inadequate hate speech provisions of Sections 153A and 153B.
  4. Criminal conspiracy was made a substantive offence only in 1913. The offence is objectionable because it was added to the code by the colonial masters to deal with political conspiracies. A code committed to the constitutional ideals of the rule of law and democracy should not have it.
  5. Criminal defamation has a chilling effect on free speech and should have been decriminalized. Unfortunately, even the punishment of two years imprisonment has been retained by Section354(2), though community service has been added as an alternative punishment.
  • The offence of blasphemy has been retained though most countries in the world have decriminalized it. Liberal India should not be seen in the company of regressive Islamic states.

Feasibility of the new codes:

  • Criminal justice policy is largely irrelevant in reducing the incidence of crime. Achieving higher conviction rates may be a good goal but it requires that innocent people not be prosecuted.
  • It remains to be seen how the new laws will be instrumental in delivering justice to the society.
  • Only the coming decades can tell to what extent the three new Bills meet the stated objectives of improving law and order, simplifying the criminal justice process and achieving the laudable goal of “ease of life”.
  • Ideally, making criminal law compatible with the constitutional vision should be the foremost object of the new codes.

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