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21st law panel unlikely to take call on compensating wrongly prosecuted

The panel whose tensure ends next year is already besieged with other references.

india Updated: Dec 17, 2017 22:57 IST
Jatin Gandhi
Jatin Gandhi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Law Commission of India,Union Civil Code,Personal laws
The 21st Law Commission of India is unlikely to get time to submit its report on whether to formulate a law to compensate those wrongly prosecuted. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Due to paucity of time, the present Law Commission of India is unlikely to provide a definite answer to whether a law or a scheme should be enacted to compensate those who have been wrongly prosecuted or incarcerated for a criminal offence.

The tenure of the 21st LCI headed by Justice BS Chauhan ends on August 31, 2018, and it’s already besieged with other references. The commission has submitted eleven reports since its formation last year.

The panel is currently finalising its report on whether to legalise betting in sports, referred to it by the Supreme Court in July last year.

After that, the panel will get down to preparing a report on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), a top official in the LCI said.

The UCC reference was sent to it by the Union government in June last year. The then law minister DV Sadananda Gowda had written to the panel asking whether the time is ripe for enforcing a common civil code in the country.

At present the constitution allows different religious communities to apply their own personal laws in matters pertaining to marriage, divorce and inheritance.

“We might not be able to take up any more references. While we will begin examining the issue, but it is unlikely that we will be able to finish it,” the official said on compensating those wrongly jailed.

The Delhi high court had earlier this month asked the commission to examine the matter.

Commission officials say they will be able to take up the reference only next year.

“There is an urgent need, therefore, for a legal (preferably legislative) framework for providing relief and rehabilitation to victims of wrongful prosecution and incarceration,” a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and IS Mehta said while referring the matter to the law panel.

The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has also referred a petition to the LCI on according minority status to Hindus in states where the community does not form a majority.

Hindus are in minorities in Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Punjab.

The panel, however, will not take up the matter as it does not accept direct references.

“The reference will have to come through the legal affairs department,” a senior official explained.

First Published: Dec 17, 2017 22:57 IST