Par panel recommends retaining IPC 377, adultery provision; death for gang-rape of minors

New Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) A Parliamentary panel on the three criminal Bills has made several suggestions for the government, which includes bringing back IPC Section 377, which was partially struck down by the Supreme Court in 2018, and retaining the adultery provision, among others.

Speaking to IANS on Tuesday, BJP MP Brij Lal, who heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, said, “The panel has recommended several things in all the three Bills. There are many new things in the Bills.”

“Like earlier, there was no mention of organised crime in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which we have added. Many crimes we have termed as 'serious', such as death sentence for those convicted for gang-rape of minors,” he said.

“Suggestions for adultery has been added under Section 497, which was ended by the Supreme Court. Now we have made it gender neutral and both (male and female) will be responsible,” Brij Lal said.

According to the panel, the adultery provision has been added because "the institution of marriage is sacred" which must be "protected".

Last Friday, the panel submitted its report to Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President of India, Jagdeep Dhankhar, on the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS-2023) and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA-2023) Bills.

The BJP MP said: “We have made some recommendations for bringing back IPC Section 377.”

Section 377 was partially struck down by the Supreme Court on September 6, 2018, thus decriminalising same-sex relations between consenting adults.

Brij Lal said, “The panel has also recommended several other changes in the three Bills. Among the new aspects that were earlier not there in the IPC, we have added organised crime.”

“Also, for small crimes, we have recommended community service in place of jail sentence,” the BJP MP said, adding that the panel has left the decision on community service with the state governments.

“Through this, the poor who have been sentenced to jail and are unable to pay fine have to take up community service,” he said.

Speaking about the Evidence Act, Brij Lal said, “We have suggested how to stop tampering with electronic evidence as it’s a digital age.”

He also said that looking at the frequent adjournments in the courts by defence lawyers, "we have recommended for a maximum of two adjournments in one case".

“We have also recommended that if the proceedings and trial are complete, the judgement needs to be passed within a month by the court,” Brij Lal said.

Soon after Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Bills in the Lok Sabha in August this year, he had urged the Speaker to refer the measures to the standing committee for their examination.

The three Bills were introduced in the Parliament during the Monsoon Session in a bid to replace the British-era laws.

The three Bills were then referred to the Parliament's select committee which was asked to submit its report within three months, i.e., by November 2023.

While introducing the Bills, Shah had said that they would transform India's criminal justice system, adding that the changes were done to provide speedy justice and create a legal system that caters to contemporary needs and aspirations of the people.

Earlier this month, the parliamentary panel had adopted the three reports offering a slew of amendments, but sticking to their Hindi names, with nearly 10 opposition members submitting dissent notes.


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