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HomeindiaDeaths due to negligence may attract tougher sentence in revamped criminal laws

Deaths due to negligence may attract tougher sentence in revamped criminal laws

New Delhi: A parliamentary panel reviewing the three bills to replace as many existing criminal laws may recommend a more stringent sentence, up to five years instead of the current two years, for those convicted of causing death due to negligence amid criticism that the current statute is too lenient, sources said.

With the committee likely to recommend a raft of changes in the three bills tabled in the Lok Sabha during Parliament’s Monsoon session in August, there is a view that the government may withdraw the proposed laws and introduce their fresh versions to avoid procedural complexity that amended proposals may cause.

The standing committee on the home affairs is, however, likely to stick to the Hindi names given to the three bills, turning down suggestions from some members representing opposition parties to lend them English titles as well, the sources said.

The panel is scheduled to meet on Friday to adopt its draft reports.

In another likely recommendation, the committee headed by BJP MP Brij Lal may seek a reduction in sentence for those convicted of deterring public servant from discharging their duties.

Sources said the Section 353 of the Indian Penal Code provides for a maximum of two years of prison term and the committee may seek to slash it to one year. The law is often used against those staging protests and many members of the committee are of the view that common protestors should be dealt with leniently.

The current criminal provisions covering deaths caused by negligence under Section 304(A) have faced criticism as it is a bailable offence with a maximum sentence of two years. Fatalities caused in road accidents or building collapse often fall under this Act.

Seeking a complete overhaul of colonial-era criminal laws, Shah had introduced three Bills to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 with Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, respectively.

(Published 26 October 2023, 15:12 IST)

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