New Delhi: Some members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs which is set to discuss the three key criminal law bills have protested against being asked at “short notice” to participate in meetings to discuss the proposed legislations.
At least three members – TMC’s Derek O’Brien and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, and Congress leader Digvijay Singh – have written to the committee chairman Brijlal questioning the scheduling of the meetings August 24, 25, and 26 and demanding that the dates be revised, sources said.
The committee is scheduled to discuss the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023, and Bharatiya Sakhshya Bill, 2023 that seek to overhaul the Indian criminal justice system by replacing the Indian Penal Code 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
The committee, according to the original schedule, was to meet August 24 to adopt a draft report on ‘Prison-Condition Infrastructure and Reforms’ – a subject on which it has been deliberating for long.
Opposition members had earlier walked out in protest during the meeting to discuss the prison reforms issue, citing the committee’s failure to discuss the Manipur issue.
A fresh notice was issued to the members August 18 night that August 24, 25, and 26, Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla will brief the members on the various aspects of the three bills.
In his letter, O’Brien said that with the conclusion of the Monsoon session of Parliament, members of both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha have commitments in their constituencies.
“This is too short a notice (a few days only) for discussion of a Bill with implications of this magnitude. Please revise the dates and schedule it in the month of September, considering that many members of the committee are present for these meetings,” he said in his letter.
Another member said that the bills were referred to the committee August 18 and on the same day members received notices on the date of the deliberations.
“On the same day, as the bill was referred to the committee, we receive notices that it has been listed for deliberations.
“This is very surprising, considering, the committee was immune to our requests to discuss the ongoing violence in Manipur. But now, the same committee is in a tearing hurry,” the member said.