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Government to modify Indian Penal Code

Date: 21 October 2019 Tags: Bills & Laws

Issue

The Home Ministry is all set to make changes in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which was designed by the British for their own benefits.

 

Background

 Home Minister Amit Shah had said that the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) should work on a proposal to amend various sections of the IPC and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) after seeking suggestions from people across the country.

 

Details

  • The idea behind the overhaul is that the master-servant concept envisaged in IPC should change.

  • After formation, the IPC has never been amended in totality and only some additions and deletions have been made.

  • The government is planning for a strong push for forensic reforms through better investigation, forensic evidence and use of better scientific techniques.

Indian Penal Code

The Indian Penal Code is the official criminal code of India. It is a comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law.

 

Controversial provisions

Unnatural Offences (Sodomy) - Section 377

Whoever, voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment of life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

 

Attempt to Commit Suicide - Section 309

The Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code deals with an unsuccessful attempt to suicide. Attempting to commit suicide and doing any act towards the commission of the offence is punishable with imprisonment up to one year or with fine or with both.

 

Adultery - Section 497

The Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code has been criticised on the one hand for allegedly treating woman as the private property of her husband, and on the other hand for giving women complete protection against punishment for adultery.

This section was unanimously struck down on 27th September 2018 by a five judge bench of the Supreme Court in case of Joseph Shine v. Union of India.

 

Need for revamp

  • Many changes in the nature of criminal activities have not been captured in the description of offences and punishment as entailed in the IPC.

  • Economic and technological changes have created a new class of financial crimes that do not feature in IPC.