Draconian Criminal Amendments in UP

CPIML Bihar state secretary Kunal has strongly condemned the recent amendments in the Criminal Law procedures in Bihar which are nothing but an extension of the mafia-police state of Yogi’s Uttar Pradesh. These amendments are entirely anti-poor and anti-dalit in nature and are being met with widespread opposition from all quarters.

CPIML has called for organising people’s voices in opposition to such ‘criminal’ amendments which are meant to weaken the process of justice for the common masses. In Bihar the district magistrate has been given powers to issue warrants, make arrests, detain, power to sanction bail applications and to expel from district or state for up to six months. This is a dangerous game where the whole judicial process has been made subservient to the powers of the DM. This will embolden parties in power and serve their vested interests.

Moreover, the new Bihar government has brought various autonomous bodies Commissions under the administration of bureaucracy which will hamper the independent work of commissions like State Minorities Commission, commission for the prevention of child labour, state Madarsa education board, state Sanskrit education board, Bihar State Women’s Commission etc. The CPIML has opposed this move of the BJP-JDU government.

The Uttarakhand government has passed an Ordinance the Uttarakhand Public (Government) and Private Property Damage Recovery (Ordinance) Law 2024 which provisions recovering losses from the ‘rioters’ as well as fines up to Rs. 8 lakhs. This ordinance is brought in the wake of violence in Banbhoolpura of Haldwani which was primarily instigated by the administrative machinery to further sharpen the communal divide in the state. Many civil society groups and parties are demanding a high level judicial inquiry into the incidents of Banbhoolpura as well as action against the DM, SSP and Municipal commissioner whose actions provoked the violent incidents. The administration is still not taking any action against the RSS affiliated hindutva groups who continue to terrorise minority community members.

This ordinance empowers the Circle Officer to make a report on damages caused to government and private property during a riot in order to recover entire costs from ‘those responsible’ along with expenses incurred on the police, administration, and other riot control agencies. Provision is also made to set up Claims Tribunals to deal with recovery etc.

There are enough provisions to deal with such matters in the existing law but by giving the judicial powers to the bureaucracy is actually being seen as a ploy to target the vulnerable, particularly the minorities, under the BJP’s state governments. In Haldwani the recovery notices were already served to many residents of Banbhoolpura without giving them a chance to prove their innocence even before this ordinance was brought in. This is being seen as an attempt to further terrorise the minorities in Uttarakhand, but this will also prevent people and opposition parties from exercising their constitutional and democratic right to protest against the policies of the BJP government.