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J&K Judicial Academy organizes 2 day training programme on “New Criminal Laws”

SRINAGAR, MARCH 30: J&K Judicial Academy organized two day training programme on “New Criminal Laws” at J&K Judicial Academy, Mominabad, here today for Judicial Officers of Kashmir Province and UT of Ladakh, Prosecution Officers, Police Officers and Officers from Forensic Science Laboratories of Kashmir Province including Research Assistants of High Court of J&K and Ladakh at Srinagar Wing.

The training programme, organised under the stewardship of Chief Justice, High court of J&K and Ladakh, Justice N Kotiswar Singh, was inaugurated by Justice Sanjeev Kumar, Judge, High Court of J&K and Ladakh in presence of Sakal Bhushan, an eminent lawyer from Jammu now practising in Supreme Court of India who was the resource person in the training programme.

Justice Sanjeev Kumar, in his inaugural address, pointed out that earlier Indian Penal Code, as the name suggested, was to penalize the Indians. He said that overhauling of these laws was a long pending demand of the society and the government observed that this is the right time to revoke these laws. The government entrusted the job to reform criminal laws to Professor Ranbir Singh, founder Vice Chancellor of National Law University, Delhi, who is the Chairperson of Committee for reforms in Criminal Laws. The Committee was made to focus on safety, security and welfare of Indians and integrity of the nation. He also gave an overview of the three new laws; Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 (BNS), Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023 (BSA) and Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023(BNSS) and highlighted that these new laws are in tune with the spirit of the Constitution and have been introduced in keeping with the aspirations of ‘we the people’.

Elaborating further Justice Kumar said that laws of British-era were aimed at punishing and enforcing allegiance to foreign rule whereas, the soul of new laws is Indianess and for the first time our criminal justice system will be governed by the laws of India, made by the Indians and for the India. He further highlighted that these new laws are not just to punish but to impart justice with equal consideration to the rehabilitation of the victim and provide justice to one and all particularly the weak and marginalized.

Justice Kumar added that the new way of inflicting punishments like community service reflects changing sentiments of public. It’s not just about punishing people but also about making them to realise and do something constructive for the community. He emphasised that idea is to make them learn from their mistakes and contribute positively to the society. He described the BNSS to be aimed at providing faster and more efficient justice system to address the issues of delays, huge pendency, low conviction rates, minimal use of technology in legal system and inadequate use of forensics. He further lamented that all these changes in laws would not work unless there was corresponding upgradation in the infrastructure.

Director, J&K Judicial Academy, Y.P. Bourney, presented the welcome address and highlighted the core of the programme. He said that Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Act, 2023 was presented in the Lok Sabha on August 11, 2023, with the primary goal of overhauling the existing Indian Penal Code, 1860, as well as two other bills aimed at replacing the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

He emphasised that Act proposes significant changes, including streamlining certain IPC provisions to reduce its length. It also introduces new offenses such as hate speech and terrorism. Additionally, the Act replaces the sedition with a more stringent offence of treason. He described that BNS, 2023, not only replaces the old Penal Code but also consolidates legal provisions making the crimes against women and children to be more stringent for better administration of justice.

He further added that by pursuing these progressive legislations, we as a nation can work towards a criminal justice system that upholds the rule of law, protects human rights, and effectively serves the needs of its diverse population particularly the poor and the marginalized.

The working sessions on the first day were chaired by Sakal Bhushan, Advocate, who in his very opening remarks, said that he is not here only to address the participants but expects questions from them regarding the subject programme. He gave a detailed overview of the additions, deletions, modifications and reorganization of chapters and sections under Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023(BNSS). The learned resource person discussed various newly added provisions and those amended provisions for the benefit of the participants.

All the sessions remained very interactive during which all the participants actively participated and shared their experiences, difficulties and also discussed various aspects of the subject topics. They also raised a number of queries which were answered satisfactorily by the resource person.