Supreme Court rejected the plea challenging three new laws

On Monday, May 20, the Supreme Court declined to consider a petition challenging the newly enacted criminal laws set to replace the Indian Penal Code of 1860, the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, and the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973.

The petitioner, Advocate Vishal Tiwari, contested the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, which are scheduled to supersede the IPC, IEA, and CrPC from July 1, 2024.

The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Tiwari sought to halt the implementation of these three new criminal laws and requested the formation of an expert committee led by a former Supreme Court judge to evaluate their feasibility.

The petition highlighted alleged irregularities in the legislative process, claiming that the relevant Bills were passed without proper parliamentary debate, particularly when many MPs were suspended. Notably, when the Bills were approved by the Lok Sabha on December 20, 141 opposition MPs from both houses were suspended.

Tiwari pointed to a 2021 statement by former Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, who expressed concern over the enactment of laws without sufficient parliamentary debate. The plea argued that such debates are essential for making necessary adjustments to a bill, ensuring it serves its intended purpose effectively, and aiding courts in legal interpretation.

The plea also argued that the new Indian laws are more oppressive than the colonial-era laws they replace, noting that during British rule, police custody was limited to a maximum of 15 days, whereas the new laws extend this period to 90 days or more, potentially enabling police abuse.

Justice Mithal remarked that the law has not yet come into effect. Following the Court’s reluctance to entertain the petition, Tiwari, representing himself, opted to withdraw it, leading to the dismissal of the petition as withdrawn.

In February, a bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud dismissed a similar petition, noting that the laws had not yet been implemented. The PIL was originally filed on January 3, 2024, after President Droupadi Murmu gave her assent to the new criminal laws on December 25, 2023.

Case Details: VISHAL TIWARI VS. UNION OF INDIA | Diary No. 454-2024

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