The government has set up a committee to rewrite all of our criminal laws. Here's why the Committee should be disbanded. (A thread)
Criminal laws define the limits of what we can do without the fear of punishment. They are meant to have safeguards to ensure that the police, the Government, and those in power cannot jail, punish or kill people at will.
All indications suggest that this committee has been set up to widen the net of criminal laws and to dilute what safeguards exist to prevent unfair prosecutions/persecution and wrongful convictions.
Why the committee must be disbanded and this process must be halted?

1. The committee has been handpicked by a Government whose commitment to Rule of Law is questionable at best.
2. The committee's silence in the face of concerns raised by retired judges about whether the government will have say in its final reports suggests that committee lacks independence.
3. Attempting to rewrite criminal law during a pandemic appears to be a piece with this government's cynical use of this national calamity-when opportunities for resistance are limited - to curtail human rights
4. The committee is non representative. It appears to include no women, dalits, adivasis, transgender or queer persons, members of nomadic and de-notified tribes, person with disabilities, members of religious minorities, representatives from the South of the East of the country.
5. The committee is disabling stakeholder engagement through it's exclusionary methods.
6. The committee is not going through any of the universally accepted law reform protocols espoused by Law Commissions Globally. Such disregard for protocol suggests that the outcome of this exercise is pre-decided.
7. The committee is conducting it's proceedings- start to finish- during a pandemic when the attention is diverted and serious engagement with the issues the committee is dealing with is near impossible.
Why Should You Be Concerned About This Reform Process?

As a citizen/resident of India, subject to its laws, you must be afforded an opportunity to participate in any reform process - especially criminal laws which have a direct impact on your personal and civil liberties.
Whether as a victim of a crime or an accused or as a member of a society wanting to live in a peaceful society, we all are affected by Criminal Law.
So, when large scale review and reform is to be undertaken, we have a right to be able to know the process and be able to participate in it. Because we are the ones who will be governed by these reformed laws.
How can you help?

E-Mail the Committee, Ministry of Home Affairs and your MP. There's already an email draft. Use this link to email.

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