Supreme Court to Hear Plea on Controversial New Criminal Laws Tomorrow
Supreme Court to Hear Plea on Controversial New Criminal Laws Tomorrow

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will examine a petition challenging three new criminal laws on Monday. Justices Bela M. Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal are expected to hear the case.

Last December, the Lok Sabha passed three significant bills: the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Act. These new laws, which received presidential assent on December 25, are set to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the Indian Evidence Act.

Advocate Vishal Tiwari has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking to halt the implementation of these laws. He argues that they were passed without proper parliamentary debate due to the suspension of many opposition members. Tiwari's plea calls for an expert committee to evaluate the new laws' viability.

"The new laws are more oppressive, establishing a police state that infringes on fundamental rights," the plea claims. "Previously, under British rule, police custody was limited to 15 days. Extending this to 90 days or more opens the door to potential police abuse."

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita introduces new definitions for crimes like secession, armed rebellion, and activities threatening national unity. Anyone found guilty of these offenses could face life imprisonment or up to seven years in jail, along with fines.

Previously, IPC Section 124A covered sedition, with penalties including life imprisonment or a three-year term. The new laws rename sedition from "Rajdroh" (rebellion against the ruler) to "Deshdroh" (rebellion against the nation).

For the first time, the term "terrorism" is explicitly defined in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, which was not included in the IPC. The new laws also enhance the powers of magistrates to impose fines and expand the criteria for declaring someone a proclaimed offender.

The Supreme Court's decision on this matter will have significant implications for India's criminal justice system.

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