Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin forms panel to recommend amendments to new criminal laws

Jul 09, 2024

New criminal laws: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has formed a one-man committee, led by retired Madras High Court judge M Satyanarayanan, to study and recommend state-level amendments to be made in three criminal laws, which will also include a change of the name of the laws in Hindi.

The one-member committee will submit its report within a month and will also consult with advocate associations and other stakeholders.

Notably, the three laws, including Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, which replaced the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Indian Evidence Act, came into force on July 1.

The decision to form this committee was made on Monday after Chief Minister Stalin chaired a high-level consultative meeting at the Secretariat to deliberate on state amendments to the Central laws.

Panel to study new laws to propose amendments

The panel would study the new laws to propose amendments including 'state-level name change' for the three laws. "This committee will clearly examine the new laws, hold consultations with stakeholders including advocates at the state-level and submit a report (on state-level amendments) within one month to the state government," an official release here said.

The meeting chaired by the Chief Minister was attended by Advocate-General P S Raman, state public prosecutor Hasan Mohamed Jinnah, Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan, Chief Secretary Shiv Das Meena, Director General of Police Shankar Jiwal, top officials and Rajya Sabha MPs, P Wilson and NR Elango (both senior advocates).

Names of new laws against Constitution

The state government said the names for the new laws (the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023) are in Sanskrit which goes against the Constitution.

The government further said that there was not proper debate in the Parliament and the opinions of state governments were not taken before the laws were adopted and enforced, leading to nationwide opposition and protests.

The government recalled a letter from Chief Minister Stalin to Union Home Minister Amit Shah on June 17, 2024, highlighting 'issues' with the new laws and urging the Centre to defer their enforcement. 

The Chief Minister pointed out 'flaws' in some basic sections of the laws and conveyed that the views of state governments were not not fully obtained by the Union government in this regard, the Chief Minister had conveyed to the Centre.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) take into account some of the current social realities and modern-day crimes. The new laws replaced the British-era Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act, respectively.

(With agencies input)