Change in mindset needed for new criminal laws: CJI DY Chandrachud | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Change in mindset needed for new criminal laws: CJI DY Chandrachud

ByAbraham Thomas
Apr 21, 2024 04:43 AM IST

The success of the three new criminal laws approved by Parliament will require a change in mindset, Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud said.

The success of the three new criminal laws approved by Parliament will require a change in mindset, Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud said on Saturday, as he flagged data privacy of citizens, boosting infrastructure and capacity of police forces to tackle evolving nature of crimes, and a civil-liberty centric approach that balances the interests of the victim and accused as major challenges in their successful implementation.

Chief Justice of India, Justice DY Chandrachud, Attorney General for India R Venkataramani and Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta during a conference on "India's progressive path in the administration of criminal justice system" in New Delhi on Saturday. (ANI)
Chief Justice of India, Justice DY Chandrachud, Attorney General for India R Venkataramani and Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta during a conference on "India's progressive path in the administration of criminal justice system" in New Delhi on Saturday. (ANI)

“The new laws will be implemented by existing persons. That is going to pose a challenge to all of us. These laws will call for a change in practice, change in mindset, new institutional arrangements and re-engineering of our processes,” the chief justice said while inaugurating a workshop organised by the ministry of law and justice on the implementation of the three laws -- The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam. The three laws are set to replace the Indian Penal Code 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act 1872 from July 1.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

Sharing his thoughts on the possible pitfalls in the path of successful implementation of these laws, he said, “It is not enough for us to only notice the radically new provisions of these three new legislations...but equally we must focus on ourselves. These new laws will be successful if we, who are in charge of implementing these laws, adapt to them, not only in terms of our institutional processes but in terms of our mindsets as well.”

Read Here: Over 600 lawyers write to CJI Chandrachud raising alarm on threats to judiciary's integrity

Even while these new laws have been enacted by Parliament, our structures and institutions have been “robust” in a democratic framework and there is a need to build on the existing structures and not discard them, he added.

With the law minister Arjun Ram Meghwal present at the event along with attorney general R Venkataramani, solicitor general Tushar Mehta and other senior bureaucrats and judges, the chief justice said, “In tandem with the steps you will be taking, the judiciary is equally alive to its responsibilities and we are in the process of discharging our own responsibility to make these laws a success.”

The three laws have redeemed the nation from the chains of colonial slavery and brought forward the stream of “justice” in administration of criminal justice in the country, Meghwal said. The introduction of the three laws was a much-needed change, Venkataramani said, while Mehta said, “The new laws are not anti-people but anti-criminal and will not affect law abiding citizens.”

Terming the enactment of the three laws as a “watershed moment”, the chief justice said, “The ideological framework at the heart of our analysis must be justice oriented with a civil liberty centric approach which balances the interests of the victim and the accused.”

Read Here | ‘Pick your battles’: CJI Chandrachud tells probe agencies; lauds new criminal laws

He appreciated the laws for its “citizen-centric approach” as the BNSS provides for supply of a copy of the first information report (FIR) to the victim and to inform them about the progress of investigation, including by digital means. He lauded the default bail provision under section 481 of BNSS as a “positive development in protecting the fundamental rights of undertrial prisoners”.

“It is very heartening to notice that Section 532 of the BNSS allows for all trials, inquiries, and proceedings under the Code to be conducted electronically,” he said. Other positive features included summary trial for less serious offences and opportunity given to victim to contest closure of offence by prosecution in an offence carrying punishment of more than seven years, he noted.

“I expect that with the implementation of the new criminal laws, we will discover loopholes and areas which need to be addressed,” chief justice Chandrachud said.

“As laudable as this addition (of laws) is, we must continuously introspect and protect the privacy of the accused as well as the victim when dealing with digitisation of proceedings and creating digital evidence,” he said, pointing out that courts are daily confronted with cases of data leak. “In the digital age, the data and sensitive information of a person has gained paramount importance...We must inspire public confidence in securing the privacy of our citizens to gain an overall efficiency and trust in the criminal justice system.”

Read Here: Centre notifies three new criminal laws; to come into force from July 1

“The power which comes with personal data puts a corresponding duty to make systems which are immune to penetration and leakage of the data,” he said. ”The safety of a person, the stigma attached to an accused, the threat perception of a witness will be compromised if the privacy of the stakeholders is not protected.” In this regard, the audiovisual recording of search and seizure under the new law will protect civil liberties and aid judicial scrutiny in case of any “procedural impropriety”, he added.

With the heads the Enforcement Directorate and Central Bureau of Investigation in attendance, he said, “Bearing in mind the evolving nature of crime, and the emergence of new digital crimes, it is imperative to boost the infrastructure and capacity of our police forces.”

He also talked about the stiff deadlines imposed in the BNSS – three years for completion of trial and 45 days for pronouncing judgment. “This stipulation is a breath of fresh air for addressing the issue of case pendency as well as the rights of the victim and the accused in a criminal case,” justice Chandrachud said. “However, if the court infrastructure and prosecution lack material resources to harness technology and conduct an efficient and speedy trial then the guarantees of the BNSS may run the risk of becoming merely directory and unimplementable.”

Read Here | Anti-terror law should not be used to quell dissent: SC judge DY Chandrachud

Blaming the inertia in the law and procedures governing investigations to be major drawbacks to hold contemporary criminals accountable, he called upon an urgent investment in capacity building of forensic experts, training of investigating officers, and a major investment in court system. “Key provisions of the new criminal law would only produce a positive impact if these investments are made as soon as possible,” he pointed out.

Admitting that the new laws have “transitioned India’s legal framework on criminal justice into the new age”, he flagged the growing scope of technology and new age crime, which use the digital landscape to create networks of collaborative units to commit crimes that cannot be pinned to an investigative situs.

However, the moral advantage of a criminal justice system in a democratic society affords the victim an opportunity to confront an accused and an equal opportunity to all persons, no matter how high or low they are in society, to defend themselves before a court of law, the chief justice said.

Tell us what your First Vote will stand for in a short video & get a chance to be featured on HT’s social media handles. Click here to know more!

Get Current Updates on India News, Elections Result, Lok Sabha Election 2024 Live, Lok Sabha Elections Results 2024, Weather Today along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, May 30, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On