Besides 14 states and three UTs, eight central police organisations, six central armed police forces (CAPFs) and seven NGOs have submitted views on possible changes in several British-era laws in force for decades.
Addressing the 51st Foundation Day of Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) here, Shah said the organisation, a key part of the consultation process that has been on for nearly two years now, offered “constructive suggestions” as part of the Centre’s efforts to overhaul laws and bring them in sync with modern times and Indian conditions.
According to sources, the home ministry’s consultation exercise also covers courts and bar associations. “It is a work in progress,” said a government functionary. In his speech, Shah referred to the fact that sometimes police face unfair criticism though they are often tasked with difficult and sensitive assignments.
Though Shah did not elaborate on the suggestions, stakeholders including civil rights activists have been demanding scrapping of Section 124A (sedition) of IPC on grounds of being vague and open to misinterpretation and misuse to stifle free speech. While anti-national activities will need to be made punishable under a statute, experts have suggested restrictions or guidelines to prevent misuse.
A section has also sought review of bail provisions to protect the disadvantaged who cannot arrange bail money. Another key reform sought relates to hate crimes like lynching, which currently are dealt under IPC provisions relating to murder.
There is also a view that misuse of mercy petition provision by death-row convicts to buy time before facing the gallows should be stopped by suitably amending the relevant laws.
Shah also referred to drone attacks, cyber attacks, narcotics trafficking, fake currency and hawala trade as the biggest challenges for police forces and asked the BPR&D to assess the nature of these problems and study best practices worldwide to devise effective and timely solutions.
The event on Saturday was attended by MoS home Nityanand Rai, home secretary Ajay Bhalla, Intelligence Bureau director Arvinda Kumar, BPR&D DG Balaji Srivastava and several senior serving and retired officers of MHA and central armed police forces.
Impressing upon the need to strengthen the “beat system”, Shah asked the BPR&D to step up efforts to revive and technically upgrade this mechanism for better ground-level policing.
Alleging a campaign to spoil the image of police by highlighting negative stories and ignoring the positive developments, Shah suggested that the good work of police forces during Covid times should be documented by the central forces as well as all state police.
Courtesy – timesofindia.indiatimes.com