15 Aug 2020
Nchro Goa chapter organised a webinar on the topic “lawmaking during covid 19 pandemic is unjust”. The webinar was conducted to explain why rewriting criminal laws during pandemic is unlawful and against the principles of natural justice. Advocate Bhavani Mohan, President NCHRO TamilNadu chapter led the webinar. The webinar looked into the committee that was setup to reform Indian criminal laws.
A committe of five people was set up in May 2020 to reform criminal Laws in line with proposed reforms to the Indian Penal Code promised by Home Minister Amit Shah in August 2019. It will also look at the possibility of newer legislation on a range of issues from sedition to marital rape and consider whether mob lynching should be penalised as a separate offence.
The last attempt at such sweeping law reform was nearly two decades ago by the Justice Malimath Committee set up in November 2000 by the then Atal Behari Vajpayee-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. Submitted in March 2003, that report suggested a range of reforms including lowering the standard of proof “beyond reasonable doubt” and was never accepted.
A new, contentious attempt is being made with five men who have day jobs and a six-month deadline. Even though many voices were raised questioning the appointment of the committee no clarification has yet been received from the central government. The criticism has been centred around many factors, main ones being the objective of the committee and the time of commencement of the committee.
The Committee’s terms of reference have not been made public. There is a fear that reforming a centuries-old legal framework during the Coronavirus pandemic smacks of a malafide. Advocate Bhavani Mohan appealed to all Bar Associations and Bar Councils to come together and demand the dissolution of the committee.
To watch the full webinar visit :