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New criminal laws need to be welcomed with changed mindset: Bombay HC chief justice

He urged those responsible for delivering justice under the new legal framework, to be implemented from July 1, to embrace their responsibilities.
Last Updated : 30 June 2024, 17:09 IST

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Mumbai: Bombay High Court Chief Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya on Sunday underlined a natural human tendency to resist change but stressed that the newly enacted criminal laws need to be welcomed and implemented with a changed mindset.

Speaking at an event organised by the Ministry of Law and Justice titled 'India's Progressive Path in the Administration of Criminal Justice System,' CJ Upadhyaya underscored the critical role of effective implementation.

He urged those responsible for delivering justice under the new legal framework, to be implemented from July 1, to embrace their responsibilities.

"It is our natural tendency to resist change or we loathe to come out of our comfort zone. It is a fear of the unknown that causes this resistance and engulfs our rationale," CJ Upadhyaya said.

Notably, three new criminal laws will come into effect across the country from Monday, bringing widespread changes in India's criminal justice system and ending colonial-era laws.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam will replace the British-era Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act, respectively.

"We have been dealing with the criminal justice system with the old laws for more than a century. The new enactments/law will bring with it some challenges but we have to welcome them with a changed mindset and come out of our comfort zones so that its implementation can be ensured," CJ Upadhyaya added.

The event organised by the Ministry of Law and Justice was aimed at generating awareness and facilitating discussions among stakeholders on the recently enacted criminal laws.

CJ Upadhyaya said the successful implementation of the new laws can happen only when all the stakeholders come together and work in tandem.

"The new criminal laws aim to curb judicial delays and usher in a robust use of information technology," he said.

The CJ added that teething trouble is bound to happen as in any transition from one era to another.

"We are in a transition phase. After today we will be having a new regime of criminal laws that will require a lot of preparedness on behalf of all stakeholders," he said.

Implementation of the new laws is a challenge to everybody and not just the judiciary, the Bombay HC Chief Justice said and expressed confidence that all the challenges would be met by the robust judicial system.

"There has to be an endeavour from all concerned for the effective implementation of the new laws which has been envisaged and now enacted by the Parliament," CJ Upadhyaya said.

There is a common consensus that law has been ever-changing and evolving and that is the law of nature, he said, adding that judicial interpretation, societal dynamism and the need for conflict resolution necessitates changes in law.

Union Minister of State for Law & Justice Arjun Ram Meghwal underscored the transformative nature of the new criminal laws.

"The new criminal laws are aimed at providing justice in contrast to colonial legislations where the focus was on 'punishment'," Meghwal said.

He added that the formulation of these laws involved extensive consultations with stakeholders, including MPs, and MLAs across party lines, including common citizens, and incorporated recommendations from the Law Commission of India.

This inclusive approach ensures that the legislation reflects diverse perspectives and addresses contemporary challenges in administering criminal justice, Meghwal said.

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Published 30 June 2024, 17:09 IST

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