HomeLegal AdviceLok Sabha Passes Controversial Criminal Law Bills Amid Opposition Absence and MP...

Lok Sabha Passes Controversial Criminal Law Bills Amid Opposition Absence and MP Suspensions

During a highly debated session, the Lok Sabha, under the leadership of Home Minister Amit Shah, approved three pivotal criminal law bills through a voice vote. The parliamentary atmosphere, marked by the absence of opposition members, who were suspended in an unprecedented number over the preceding days, gave rise to concerns of a chamber functioning as a one-sided echo chamber for the ruling party.

The contentious bills, aimed at replacing colonial-era laws, were vehemently defended by Shah, who asserted their alignment with the “Constitutional spirit” and the “Bharatiya ethos of justice.” The backdrop of heightened security concerns emerged in the wake of a recent breach within the same parliamentary chamber. Opposition MPs, facing suspension for their vocal insistence on Shah addressing the security lapse, elevated the total count of ousted members to 143.

The bills, slated to supplant fundamental legal frameworks such as the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Indian Evidence Act, have generated significant controversy. The absence of opposition representation during the debate, except for a handful of members from parties like the BJD, YSRCP, and BSP, raised questions about the democratic process and the genuine consideration of opposing viewpoints. Notably, many non-ruling party members appeared to echo sentiments in favour of the bills, presenting a skewed representation of diverse perspectives.

Security concerns were amplified following the intrusion by two individuals carrying smoke canisters into the Lok Sabha a week prior. Home Minister Shah, however, refrained from addressing this security breach during the recent session. The suspension of additional opposition MPs, including Thomas Chazhikadan and A.M. Arif, further intensified the already contentious parliamentary environment.

Rugmini Dinu