Union Home Ministry has asked all State governments to send their suggestions for a major overhaul and recasting of the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code. According to reports, the new structure and content of criminal laws will be citizen-centric, will reflect the aspirations of modern democracy, and provide for speedy justice, especially to the weaker sections of society. This comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to attend the national conference of directors-general and inspectors general of police, to be held in Pune from December 6 to 8.
The Bureau of Police Research and Development may undertake a review of the laws such as the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, and the Indian Evidence Act. The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) will constitute a suitable working or consultative group and submit a report. The revised law is meant to reflect the modern reality in accordance with the democratic aspirations of the people and provide speedy justice to women, children, and weaker sections of the people. Such laws will also be required to focus on simplifying legal procedures so that ease of living is ensured for the common man.
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According to think tank PRS Legislative Research, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2007) has noted that the control of the police by the political executive has been abused in the past by the to unduly influence police personnel, and have them serve personal or political interests. This interferes with professional decision-making by the police (e.g., regarding how to respond to law and order situations or how to conduct investigations), resulting in a biased performance of duties. To allow the police greater operational freedom while ensuring accountability, various experts have recommended that the political executive’s power of superintendence over police forces be limited.
The Second Administrative Reforms Commission has recommended that this power be limited to promoting professional efficiency and ensuring that police are acting in accordance with the law. Alternatively, the National Police Commission (1977-81) suggested that superintendence be defined in the law to exclude instructions that interfere with due process of law, or that influence operational decisions, or that unlawfully influence police personnel transfers, recruitments, etc. The Supreme Court has also issued directions to States and the Centre in 2006 in this regard.