Pranab Mukherjee: Indian Penal Code requires thorough revision to meet 21st century needs

Pranab Mukherjee_2_2_0
The President's comments come against the backdrop of the ongoing JNU row where sedition was invoked by the Delhi Police against student union president Kanhaiya Kumar.

As the government faces fire in Parliament on what constitutes sedition and laws that govern it, President Pranab Mukherjee Friday said the Indian Penal Code (IPC) requires a thorough revision to meet needs of the 21st century and changes are necessary in the “archaic” police system.

Speaking at a valedictory event in Kochi on the occasion of the yearlong celebrations of the 155th anniversary of IPC, he said, “The IPC has undergone very few changes in the last 155 years…”

 “Even now, there are offences in the code, which were enacted by the British to meet their colonial needs. Yet, there are many new offences, which have to be properly defined and incorporated in the code. The premier code for criminal law was a model piece of legislation but requires a thorough revision to meet the changing needs of the 21st century,” he said.

The IPC came into operation from 1 January, 1862. In the light of the sedition law being applied on some JNU students for allegedly raising anti-national slogans, there have been strong calls for either deletion or drastic changes in Section 124 A of IPC.

Underlining the threat posed by economic crimes, Mukherjee said this impeded inclusive growth and progress. “It is a challenge to bring all new-age offences with its intricacies within the ambit of the criminal law.”

He said the image of police depends on its actions and in ensuring prompt, equitable and fair enforcement of laws. “The Rule of Law is the cardinal principle on which a modern state rests. It has to be upheld at all times. It is incumbent on the law enforcing agencies, particularly the police force, to fulfill its foremost duty of maintaining law and order… The onus is on our law enforcing agencies to work towards transforming the archaic police system and bring it in tune with the requirements of a modern democratic nation,” he said.

He suggested some action points. “Our police officers must ensure quick redressal of the grievances of the common man. They must partner other stakeholders in creating a peaceful and secure atmosphere conducive to progress and development…,” he said.

Source: PTI  & Express News Service

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