Bharat Ratna

Murmu Confers Bharat Ratna Posthumously On Narasimha Rao, Charan Singh

President Droupadi Murmu on Saturday conferred Bharat Ratna on four eminent personalities, including two former Prime Ministers, Chaudhary Charan Singh and PV Narasimha Rao. Former Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur and agronomist MS Swaminathan were also conferred with the country’s highest civilian award.

The central government announced five names for the Bharat Ratna this year, which also included BJP leader LK Advani.

Sources said that President Murmu will pay a visit to senior BJP leader LK Advani’s residence and confer him with the prestigious award. This was decided in view of the ailing health of the veteran BJP leader Advani, they added.

Former PM Charan Singh’s award was received by his grandson, Jayant Singh, and PV Narasimha Rao’s award was received by his son, PV Prabhakar Rao.

MS Swaminathan’s daughter, Nitya Rao, received the award for her father and Karpoori Thakur’s award was received by his son, Ram Nath Thakur.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP National President JP Nadda, Congress leader and LoP Mallikarjun Kharge were present among other leaders on the occasion.

Born on June 28, 1921, in Karimnagar, Telangana, being an agriculturist and an advocate, Narsimha Rao joined politics and held some important portfolios. He was the Minister of Law and Information, 1962-64; Law and Endowments, 1964-67; Health and Medicine, 1967 and Education, 1968-71, Government of Andhra Pradesh. He was the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh from 1971-73 and General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee from 1975-76.

Trained as a plant geneticist, Swaminathan’s significant contributions to India’s agricultural sector have earned him a reputation as the scientific leader of India’s green revolution movement. His work has been instrumental in the agricultural renaissance of India.

Born in Karachi, in present-day Pakistan, on November 8, 1927, Advani has served as the President of the Bharatiya Janata Party for the longest period since its inception in 1980. Capping a parliamentary career of nearly three decades, he was, first, the Home Minister and, later, the Deputy Prime Minister in the cabinet of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1999-2004).

Karpoori Thakur was born in 1924 in one of the most backward sections of society, the Nai Samaj. He was a remarkable leader whose political journey was marked by his unwavering commitment to the marginalised sections of society. He served as the Chief Minister of Bihar and was a key figure in the struggle against social discrimination and inequality. His commitment to affirmative action gave representation and opportunities to the poor, oppressed, exploited and deprived sections of the country.

Chaudhary Charan Singh was born in 1902 at Noorpur in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh, in a middle class peasant family. He shifted to Meerut in 1929 and later joined the Congress. He was first elected to the UP Legislative Assembly in 1937 from Chhaprauli and represented the constituency in 1946, 1952, 1962 and 1967. He became Parliamentary Secretary in Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant’s Government in 1946 and worked in various departments such as Revenue, Medical and Public Health, Justice, Information etc.

In June 1951, he was appointed Cabinet Minister in the State and given charge of the Departments of Justice and Information. Later, he took over as the Minister for Revenue and Agriculture in the Cabinet of Sampurnanand in 1952. When he resigned in April 1959, he was holding charge of the Department of Revenue and Transport. (ANI)

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One Nation One Election Murmu

One Nation One Election Committee Submits Report To Murmu

The High-Level Committee on ‘One Nation One Election’ chaired by former President Ram Nath Kovind met President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan and submitted its report on Thursday.

The Report comprises of 18,626 pages and is an outcome of extensive consultations with stakeholders, experts and research work over 191 days, since its constitution on September 2, 2023.

The committee submitted the report in the presence of all committee members including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) chief Gulam Nabi Azad and others.

Recently the High Level Committee also met and interacted with representatives of several Political parties including BJP, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, CPI, CPI(M), AIMIM, RPI, Apna Dal etc.

Representatives of these parties also handed over their suggestions in writing to the committee.

The High-Level Committee relating to the holding of simultaneous elections in the country has initiated a consultation process under the chairmanship of Ram Nath Kovind, former President of India.

The High-Level Committee recently also sought public opinion regarding the one nation, one election issue. The public notice issued stated, “Notice for inviting suggestions from members of the general public for making appropriate changes in the existing legal administrative framework to enable simultaneous elections in the country.”

The central government in September last year constituted a high-level Committee to examine the issue of ‘One Nation, One Election’ and make recommendations for holding simultaneous elections in the country.

The central idea behind ‘One Nation One Election’ is to synchronize the timing of Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections across all States to reduce the frequency of polls throughout the country.

This concept was the practice till 1967, but it was disrupted due to various reasons such as defections, dismissals, and dissolutions of government. (ANI)

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Sudha Murty Rajya Sabha

I’m Getting Bigger Platform To Work: Sudha Murty On RS Nomination

After President Droupadi Murmu nominated Sudha Murty for the Rajya Sabha, philanthropist and author Murty said that she is happy that she is getting a bigger platform to work for the poor adding that her nomination and work had nothing to do with politics.

President Droupadi Murmu nominated author and philanthropist Sudha Murty to the Rajya Sabha on Friday.

“I’m happy, at the same time I feel I have been given more responsibility. I’ll work my level best. On a personal level, I am happy that I’m getting a bigger platform to work for the poor,” Sudha Murty told ANI on Friday.

When asked about whether this could be considered a step into the political arena, Sudha Murty was clear that she did not consider herself a politician.

“I don’t think that I could consider myself as a politician and I’m not a politician. I’m a nominated Rajya Sabha member. My son-in-law’s (UK PM Rishi Sunak) politics is for his country and it is different, and my work is different. I’m a government worker now,” she responded.

Reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appreciation of her being nominated to the upper house Murty said, “It’s very nice of him he appreciated my work, I want to thank the Prime Minister very much.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday congratulated philanthropist and author Sudha Murty on being nominated to the Rajya Sabha and termed the announcement on International Women’s Day a “powerful testament” to India’s “Nari Shakti.”

“I am delighted that the President of India has nominated Sudha Murty to the Rajya Sabha. Sudha Ji’s contributions to diverse fields including social work, philanthropy and education have been immense and inspiring. Her presence in the Rajya Sabha is a powerful testament to our ‘Nari Shakti’, exemplifying the strength and potential of women in shaping our nation’s destiny,” PM Modi posted on X on Friday.

BJP chief JP Nadda also congratulated Sudha Murty and said that her commitment to making a positive impact in society is truly commendable.

“Congratulations to Smt Sudha Murty ji for the prestigious nomination as a member of the Rajya Sabha. Sudha Ji’s unwavering dedication to community service, her tireless efforts in the field of education, and her remarkable philanthropic endeavours serve as a beacon of inspiration for countless individuals. Her commitment to making a positive impact on society is truly commendable. You embody the strength of ‘Nari Shakti.’ Wishing you success on your parliamentary journey,” Nadda posted on X.

The well-known author, Sudha Murty has contributed to English and Kannada literature and had retired as the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation on December 31, 2021. She was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2023 for her contribution in the field of social work. In 2006, she was conferred the Padma Shri.

Murty is married to the co-founder of Infosys, NR Narayana Murty and is the mother-in-law of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. (ANI)

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President Droupadi Murmu birthday

Murmu To Grace Mauritius National Day As chief Guest

President Droupadi Murmu is set to embark on a State visit to Mauritius from March 11 to 13, where she will attend the National Day celebrations on March 12 as the chief guest.

The official invitation was extended by the Government of Mauritius.

Announcing the upcoming visit during a weekly press briefing, Randhir Jaiswal, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, shared details of the president’s tour.

“President of India Droupadi Murmu will undertake a State visit to Mauritius from March 11 to 13 to attend the National Day celebrations of Mauritius on March 12 as a chief guest on the invitation of the Government of Mauritius,” Jaiswal said.

“President Murmu will hold bilateral meetings with the President of Mauritius, Prithvirajsing Roopun, and Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth,” he added.

Highlighting the depth of India’s development partnership with Mauritius, Jaiswal also said that President Murmu and Prime Minister Jugnath will jointly inaugurate 14 India-assisted projects during the visit.

“As the 6th Indian president to grace the Mauritian National Day as a Chief guest since 2000, President Murmu’s state visit underscores the longstanding and enduring ties between India and Mauritius,” stated the MEA spokesperson.

As a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and the Indian freedom struggle, the National Day of Mauritius is celebrated on March 12 every year (the date on which the Dandi Salt March was launched), according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

Diplomatic relations between India and Mauritius were established in 1948. A brief stopover by Mahatma Gandhi en route to India from South Africa (October 29 to November 15, 1901), while awaiting departure of his ship SS Nowshera, is still etched in the consciousness of Mauritius.

Barrister Manillal Doctor, who came to Mauritius in 1907 on the suggestion of Gandhiji, helped the Mauritian Indian community to organise themselves and laid the foundation for their struggle for political and social rights, the MEA also said in a statement. (ANI)

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National Commission of Schedule Caste

National Commission Of Schedule Caste Submits Annual Report To Murmu

Vice-Chairman Arun Haldar submitted the Annual Report 2022-23 of the National Commission of Schedule Caste to President Droupadi Murmu at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on Friday, a press release from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment stated.

Subhash Ramnath Pardhi and Anju Bala, Members of the Schedule Caste Commission were also present on this occasion.

The reports contain various recommendations on the issues entrusted to the Commission regarding the protection of constitutional safeguards for the Scheduled Castes as enshrined in the Constitution of India, the release said.

As per the mandate given to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes under Article 338 of the Constitution of India, the Commission must present to the President annually and at other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of the constitutional safeguards of the Scheduled Castes.

The reports may include recommendations for the measures required to be taken by the Union and the States for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Scheduled Castes, the release said.

Earlier on Thursday, after listening to the grievances of women who have been protesting against the violence and sexual assault by the supporters of Trinamool Congress strongman Shajahan Sheikh, National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) chairman Arun Haldar said that he will submit a report of the violence-hit Sandeshkhali area of West Bengal to President Droupadi Murmu on Friday.

A delegation from the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) paid a visit to the violence-hit Sandeshkhali area of West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district to assess the situation and listen to the victims as women have been protesting against the violence and sexual assault by supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).

Arun Haldar said that members of the commission came here after receiving reports about Sandeshkhali and to listen to victims.

“I have received the report about Sandeshkhali. A lot of people wanted to say a lot of things but they were not given a chance. Members of the commission and I have come here to listen to them. I will listen to them and give the report to the government. It is a constitutional body, not a political body…Tomorrow at 11 am will send the report to the President,” Haldar said. (ANI)

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President Murmu Address to Parl: India Grew Fastest in 2023

President Murmu Address to Parl: India Grew Fastest in 2023

President Droupadi Murmu, addressing a joint sitting of Parliament on Wednesday, asserted that 2023 was a historic year for the country when it maintained the tag of being the fastest-growing major economy.

“The year 2023 was a historic year for India, when it grew the fastest among major economies despite global crisis. India grew about 7.5 per cent for two consecutive quarters,” she told the Parliament, on behalf of the central government.

The Indian economy grew 7.8 per cent and 7.6 per cent, respectively, during the April-June and July-September quarter of the current financial year 2023-24, thus remaining the fastest-growing major economy.

With her address marked the start of the Budget Session of Parliament. Subject to the exigencies of government business, the session may conclude on February 9.

This is President Murmu’s first address in the new Parliament building.

“…This is my first address in the new Parliament building. This grand building has been built at the beginning of the Amrit Kaal. This has the fragrance of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat’…This also has the resolve to honour democratic and parliamentary traditions. Besides this, it also has the resolve to build new traditions of the new India of the 21st century,” Murmu said.

“I am confident that there will be meaningful conversation on policies, in this new building,” the President said.

Speaking about her government, she said, “The achievements that we see today are the extension of the practices of the last 10 years. We heard the slogan of ‘Gareebi Hatao’ since our childhood. Today, for the first time in our lives, we see poverty being alleviated on a large scale.”

Meanwhile, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the interim Union Budget on Thursday.

The last session before Lok Sabha polls expected to be held in April-May this year is to provide a total of eight sittings spread over a period of 10 days.

The interim budget typically takes care of the fiscal needs of the intervening period until a government is formed after the Lok Sabha polls.

A day before the Session was set to start, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, at an all-party meeting, said the Budget session will mainly be devoted to the Financial Business relating to Interim Union Budget for the year 2024-25 and discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address.

However essential Legislative and other Business may also be taken up during this session. The all-party meeting was attended by 45 leaders from 30 political parties.

In addition, he also informed that Supplementary Demands for Grants for the Year 2023-24 in respect of the Union Government will be discussed and voted.

Presentation and discussion on Interim Budget of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir for 2024-25 along with Supplementary Demands for Grants of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir for the financial year 2023-24 will also be taken up and voted. (ANI)

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Parliament's Budget Session To Begin On Wednesday

Parliament’s Budget Session To Begin On Wednesday

The budget session of Parliament, the last session before Lok Sabha polls expected to be held in April-May this year, will commence on Wednesday with President Droupadi Murmu addressing a joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the new Parliament building.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the interim budget on February 1.

The government convened an all-party meeting ahead of the session and struck a conciliatory note with the opposition, stating that it had urged the presiding officers of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to revoke the suspension of MPs, who had been suspended during the winter session of Parliament.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told reporters after the all-party meeting that it was held in a conducive atmosphere.

“All (suspensions) will be revoked. I have spoken with the (Lok Sabha) Speaker and (Rajya Sabha) Chairman, I have also requested them on behalf of the government…This is the jurisdiction of the Speaker and the Chairman. So, we have requested both of them to speak with the concerned privileged committees, revoke the suspension and give them the opportunity to come to the House. Both of them agreed,” Joshi said.

Asked if the suspended MPs will come to the House from tomorrow, Joshi said “yes”.

An unprecedented 146 opposition MPs were suspended from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha during the winter session of Parliament for “violating rules”.

Joshi said that 45 leaders from 30 parties, including the ruling BJP, attended the meeting. “The meeting was held in a conducive atmosphere. This is a short session and the last one of the 17th Lok Sabha. We have requested the MPs to not come with placards,” Joshi said.

Congress leader Pramod Tiwari said that inflation and unemployment are two important issues that the party would raise in the budget session.

“Inflation and unemployment are two important issues which we will raise in the upcoming session. Investigative agencies are being misused. The latest example of the way ED is working is that of Jharkhand’s CM Hemant Soren. Apart from this, atrocities continue in Manipur. I specifically want to say that the debt burden on the country is increasing,” he said.

“I have raised issues regarding economic situation, federal structure, violent attacks on Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra in Assam, doubling the income of farmers, ED-CBI raids, caste census among others,” he added.

Asked about Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s remarks that there will be “no more polls if PM Modi wins,” Tiwari alleged that the government doesn’t believe in democracy.

“What if they change the election process? The public should use its rights and root out the Modi government,” he said.

Congress MP K Suresh accused the BJP government of using central agencies as weapons against the opposition. “They want to destabilise the opposition as they are scared of opposition unity.”

TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay alleged that the government is not willing to answer questions.

“We also raised the issue of suspension of 150 MPs but the attitude of the government is not to reply to any question.”

The budget session will conclude on February 9.

The Committee of Privilege of Rajya Sabha held 11 suspended members guilty of breach of Privilege and contempt of the council but Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar invoked his authority and revoked the suspension of all 11 members.

The decision was taken to enable the members to attend the historic Special address by the President in the New Parliament Building, sources said.

The committee of Privileges of Rajya Sabha held 11 members – Jebi Mather Hisham, L Hanumanthaiah, Neeraj Dangi, Rajmani Patel, Kumar Ketkar, GC Chandrashekhar, Binoy Viswam, Sandosh Kumar, M Mohamed Abdulla, John Brittas, and AA

Rahim – guilty of breach of privilege and contempt of the Council.

It had further recommended that the period of suspension already suffered by the members be treated as sufficient punishment for the transgression.

Taking note of the situation that the suspended Members would not be able to attend the Special Address of the President to both the Houses of Parliament assembled together, the Committee presented the report to the Chairman Rajya Sabha.

The Chairman invoked the authority vested in him to revoke their suspension enabling the members to attend the Special address by the President. (ANI)

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Murmu Unfurls Tricolour, Takes Ceremonial 21-Gun Salute

Murmu Unfurls Tricolour, Takes Ceremonial 21-Gun Salute

President Droupadi Murmu commenced the celebrations of the 75th Republic Day on Friday by unfurling the national flag at Kartavya Path.

President Murmu on her arrival at Kartavya Path was received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Simultaneously, the National Anthem was played and the 21 Gun Salute was presented to the President.

As per tradition, the National Flag was unfurled followed by the National Anthem with a booming 21-gun salute given with indigenous gun system 105-mm Indian Field Guns.

President Murmu and her French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, who is the chief guest at this year’s Republic Day celebrations were escorted by the President’s Bodyguard- ‘Rashtrapati Ke Angrakshak’.

The President’s Bodyguard is the seniormost Regiment of the Indian Army. This Republic Day is special for this elite Regiment as the ‘Angrakshak’ has completed 250 years of service since its raising in 1773.

The two Presidents arrived at kartavya Path in the ‘Traditional Buggy’, a practice which made a comeback after a gap of 40 years.

The Commandant of the President’s Bodyguard Colonel Amit Berwal, rode to the right of the President’s Buggy, leading this elite body of horsemen. To the left of the President’s Buggy is the Second-in-Command of the Regiment Lt Col Ramakant Yadav.

Four Mi-17 IV helicopters of the 105 Helicopter Unit showered flower petals on the audience present at Kartavya Path. This was followed by ‘Aavaahan’, a band performance by over 100 women artists playing various types of percussion instruments, symbolising Nari Shakti.

The Gun Salute was presented by the Ceremonial Battery of 871 Field Regiment (SHINGO) ex HQ 36 Artillery Brigade. The Ceremonial Battery is commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Vikas Kumar, SM.

The Gun position officer is Subedar (AIG) Anoop Singh. The 21 Gun Salute was given with 105 mm Indian Field Guns, the indigenous gun system on Kartavya Path.

21 Gun Salute is the highest military honour presented to the National Flag from the Kartavya path. The gun salute is synchronized with three simultaneous actions viz-a-viz, unfurling of the National Flag, Playing of the National Anthem by the Service bands and the national salute rendered by the President’s Bodyguard.

Last year, for the first time, the 21 Gun Salute was given with 105 mm Indian Field Guns replacing the vintage 25-pounder gun.

The 21 Gun Salute is presented during Republic Day, Independence Day and visits of foreign Heads of State.

The President’s Buggy is being led by Risaldar Sunder Singh Tanwar astride ARJUN.

The President’s Bodyguard is a unique Airborne Cavalry Regiment’ and distinct amongst all Regiments not only in India but also in the whole world, as it performs a multitude of roles.

It is the senior-most Cavalry Regiment carrying out mounted ceremonial duties for the President.

The ceremonial escort under the Commandant consisted of two divisions, one in front of the President’s Buggy and one in the rear. The ‘Nishaan Toli’ carrying the National Flag and two Nishaans of the Regiment were in the centre.

The front division was commanded by the Risaldar Major Ajay Kumar. Immediately behind the President’s Buggy was the Trumpeter on his grey steed Alexander followed by the Nishaan Toli.

The National Flag was carried by Risaldar Bhawani Singh, Nishaan of the President’s Standard of Bodyguard, carried by Risaldar Kulbir Singh and the Regimental Standard was carried by Rajender Singh. The rear division was under the command of Risaldar Satnam Singh.

French President Emmanuel Macron is the chief guest at this year’s R-Day parade.

He is the fifth French leader to be the chief guest on Republic Day. (ANI)

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President Droupadi Murmu birthday

Democratic System In India Much Older Than Concept Of Western Democracy: Murmu

Extending greetings to people on the eve of the 75th Republic Day, President Droupadi Murmu on Thursday said that it is truly a historic milestone in the journey of the nation in many ways.

In her Address to the Nation on the eve of Republic Day, the President said that the democratic system in India is much older than the concept of Western democracy and that is the reason why India is called the “mother of democracy”.

“Tomorrow is the day when we celebrate the commencement of the Constitution. Its Preamble begins with the words ‘We, the People of India’, highlighting the theme of the document, namely, democracy. In India, the democratic system is much older than the concept of Western democracy. That is the reason why India is called the “mother of democracy,” she said.

The President said the nation gratefully remembers the leaders as well as the officials who contributed to the framing of “our splendid and inspiring” Constitution.

“My heartiest greetings to all of you on the eve of the 75th Republic Day! My heart is filled with pride when I look back and see how far we have travelled despite adversities. The 75th year of the Republic is truly a historic milestone in the journey of the nation in many ways. This is an especially festive occasion, just as we celebrated the unique greatness and diverse culture of our nation during the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, when we completed 75 years of Independence,” she said.

She said India became free from foreign rule on August 15 after a long and difficult struggle.

“The task of framing the principles and processes that would govern the country and unleash its true potential was still a work in progress. The Constituent Assembly spent nearly three years holding detailed discussions on all aspects of governance and produced the great founding document of our nation, the Constitution of India,” she added. (ANI)

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President Assent to Three Bills

President Gives Assent To Bills Replacing IPC, CrPC, Evidence Act

President Droupadi Murmu on Monday gave her assent to three new criminal justice Bills enacting them into laws that replace the colonial laws namely the IPC, the CrPC and the Evidence Act.

The three new criminal laws will be called Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023.

The move comes days after the Parliament passed the three criminal bills — the Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita Bill, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita Bill and the Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill.

Giving prominence to crimes against women and children, murder and crimes against the nation; these three Bills were passed by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in the recently concluded Winter Session of Parliament.

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been replaced with the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the CrPC with Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Indian Evidence Act has been replaced with the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam.

Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita will have 358 sections (instead of 511 sections of IPC). A total of 20 new crimes have been added to the Bill, and imprisonment sentences have been increased for 33 crimes. The amount of fine has been increased in 83 crimes and mandatory minimum punishment has been introduced in 23 crimes. The penalty of community service has been introduced in six crimes and 19 sections have been repealed or removed in the Bill.

Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita will have 531 sections (in place of 484 sections of CrPC). A total of 177 provisions have been changed in the Bill and nine new sections as well as 39 new sub-sections have been added to it. The draft act has added 44 new provisions and clarifications. Timelines have been added to 35 sections and audio-video provision has been added at 35 places. A total of 14 sections have been repealed and removed in the Bill.

Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam will have 170 provisions (instead of the original 167 provisions, and a total of 24 provisions have been changed. Two new provisions and six sub-provisions have been added and six provisions have been repealed or deleted in the Bill.

Piloting the three Bills in the Rajya Sabha Union Home Minister Amit Shah on December 21 had said that it was the “beginning of a new era” as “the purpose of these bills is to give justice not the punishment.”

“For the first time in history”, Shah had said that the three bills would free people from a colonial mindset as the British government considered protections against treason and treasury more important than murder or atrocities against women.

The Minister had said that complete implementation of new criminal laws will ensure an end to ‘tareekh pe tareekh’ era and justice will be given in three years.”

Shah had also said the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita has introduced a new chapter titled ‘Crimes against women and children’ to deal with sexual crimes, and that the bill is proposing changes in the provisions related to the rape of women below 18 years of age.

Provision related to gang rape of a minor woman to become consistent with the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), and a provision has been made for life imprisonment or the death penalty in the case of girls below 18 years of age, said the Minister on Thursday.

There is provision of 20 years imprisonment or life imprisonment in all cases of gang rape and new crime category of gang rape of a woman under 18 years of age, he said, adding “the Bill provides for targeted penalties for persons fraudulently engaging in sexual intercourse or promising to marry without true intention to marry.”

As per the Minister, terrorism has been defined for the first time in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, and it has been made a punishable offence.

In Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Sectiin 113. (1), it is clearly mentioned that “whoever, with intent to endanger or is likely to endanger the unity, integrity, sovereignty, security or economic security or sovereignty of India or to cause or spread terror among the public or any section of the public in India or in any foreign country, commits any act using bombs, dynamite, explosive substances, poisonous gases, nuclear with intent to cause death to any person or persons, damage to property, or manufacture or smuggling of currency or so, he commits terrorist acts”.

In the Bill, terrorist acts are punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole. A range of terrorist offences have also been introduced in the Bill and it is pointed out that destroying public facilities or private property is a crime. Acts that cause ‘widespread loss by reason of damage or destruction of critical infrastructure’ are also covered under this section.

A new criminal section related to organized crime has been added to the Bill, and organized crime has been defined for the first time in Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 111. (1). Illegal activity done by syndicate has been made punishable.

The new provisions include armed rebellion, subversive activities, separatist activities or any act threatening the sovereignty or unity and integrity of India. Small organized crimes have also been criminalized, punishable with imprisonment of up to seven years.

In organized crime, if a person is killed, the Bills says, the accused can be sentenced to death or life imprisonment. A fine will also be imposed, which will not be less than Rs 10 lakh. Provision for punishment has also been made for those who help in organized crime.

On mob lynching, Shah had said a new provision on crime related to murder committed on the basis of race, caste and community has been included, for which a provision of life imprisonment or death penalty has been made.

A new provision related to snatching also. There will now be more severe penalties for serious injuries that result in near-disability or permanent disability.

The practice of filing zero FIR has been institutionalized. The First Information Report (FIR) can be lodged anywhere, irrespective of the area in which the crime took place.

Victim’s right to information has been ensured in these laws. Victim has the right to get a copy of the FIR free of cost. There is also a provision to inform the victim about the progress of the investigation within 90 days.

The timeline has been added in 35 sections of Bharatiya Nagrik Sukraksha Sanhita, which will make the speedy delivery of justice possible. The Bill prescribes a time limit for initiation of criminal proceedings, arrest, investigation, charge sheet, proceedings before magistrate, cognizance, charges, plea bargaining, appointment of Assistant Public Prosecutor, trial, bail, judgment and punishment, and mercy petition.

This process of reform in the three laws of the criminal justice system was started in 2019 and 3,200 suggestions in this regard were received from various stakeholders. Union Home Minister Amit Shah held more than 150 meetings and these suggestions were thoroughly discussed in the Home Ministry. (ANI)

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