No court may require that any privileged communication between ministers and the president be brought before it, sources said, Home Minister Ajay Bhalla told the Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs while briefing them on the situation. Three bills seek to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and Evidence Act. The new requirement is part of the Bharatiya Sakhshya Bill 2023 that will replace the Evidence Act.
The committee began its deliberations on the three bills on Thursday. The meeting started with MP Dayanidhi Maran of DMK asking several questions about the timing and content of the bills, especially the objections to their Indian names. Mr. Maran, according to the sources, indicated that the Hindi titles of the bills violated Section 348 which stipulates the use of English language in all bills and laws.
“Their Indian surnames violate the unitary nature of our country where citizens speak a variety of non-Indic languages. I kindly ask you to change their surnames from Hindi to English. The language that binds all nations is English, and these laws are supposed to apply to the people of this country.”
He was supported by Rajya Sabha Congressman Digvijaya Singh, who, according to sources, said that despite coming from the Indian belt, he finds the name of the bills very difficult.
Mr. Maran suggested that the Committee consult with members of the Bar Association in the various states, noting that criminal trials were held in the district courts. Several members of the commission supported his view, saying that the commission should hold extensive discussions across the country before submitting its report. A total of 11 members attended the committee, six of whom were from India bloc parties.
The Bharatiya Nyai Sanhita Act 2023, which aims to replace the Indian Penal Code, has omitted the provision that it is necessary to deliberately carry arms in any procession, organization, conduct or participate in any group exercises or group training with weapons. Mr Maran said the ruling was intended to prevent groups from brandishing weapons in public. “If it is omitted, it will encourage groups who have such a tendency to organize such exercises with weapons and so on, which may create enmity between different groups.”
Home Minister Mr. Bhalla made the presentation after Mr. Maran’s speech. Other than Mr. Maran, TMC MP Derek O’Brien also questioned why he had not amended existing bills rather than introducing entirely new legislation.
Mr. Bahla’s show will run for two more days, on Friday and Saturday. Members are likely to have two days next month to seek clarification from the home secretary.