Mumbai: The announcement by the Central government on overhauling the Indian criminal laws was seen as a welcome move by several lawyers however, there are a few who have criticised the move, especially giving Hindi names to the Act.
On August 11, the Central government announced that it will replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC) of 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) of 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872. The announcement was made by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah while addressing the Lok Sabha.
CM Stalin criticises move
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, on the same day, took to social media to criticise the move thereby reigniting the language imposition row. The DMK leader had termed the renaming of the Acts as unconstitutional and an attempt to tamper with India's diversity.
“The audacious attempt by the Union BJP government to tamper with the essence of India's diversity through a sweeping overhaul - Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Bill - reeks of linguistic imperialism. This is an affront to the very foundation of #INDIA's unity. BJP and Prime Minister Modi have no moral right to even utter the word #Tamil hereafter,” the leader had said.
“In the crucible of history, Tamil Nadu and DMK have emerged as the vanguards against such oppressive overtones. From the Anti-Hindi agitations to safeguarding our linguistic identity, we have withstood the storm of #HindiImposition before, and we shall do it again, with unyielding determination… The fire of resistance against #HindiColonialism is ablaze once more. The BJP's audacious bid to supplant our identity with Hindi will be opposed resolutely,” he added with a #StopHindiImposition.
Back home, noted IPS officer-turned-advocate YP Singh said that it was a “rhetorical exercise”. He said that non-Hindi speaking people will oppose this since the language in the Constitution is English. “Ultimately the names and definitions are coming from English, like the culpable homicide. How will you make this compatible with the realities in courts?” asked Singh.
Present laws are doing very well and there is nothing colonial about it, he said.
The former IPS officer, however, expressed apprehension that it is going to be tough to shift to the new laws because of its consequential reach, which is very large. He said that it would be a huge intellectual setback to the police because of the comprehensive change. “This change is likely to create hurdles to the constabulary level who do not adapt with the existing sections,” he added.
Besides, the Supreme Court has defined the CrPC and the IPC in a comprehensive manner and precedents have been set. “I am just keeping my fingers crossed,” Singh added.
Advocate Mathews Nedumpara, hailing from Kerala and practices in Kerala High Court, Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court, said giving Hindi names would not serve the purpose. “It will only create further confusion. It will be counter productive and serve no purpose,” Nedumpara said.
“It (IPC) is a beautiful piece of literature. Maybe, it may serve a political purpose,” he added.
However, the advocate said that it is a misunderstanding that these laws were colonial. “Even the English did not make the laws. They adopted it from the Romans. They (laws) have been there for centuries and the same have been the base of all legal systems, be it Indian, British or the US,” Nedumpara added.