Three Draconian Criminal Codes

Protests were held on July 1 at the call of CPIML across the country demanding postponement of implementation of three new criminal laws and that they must be placed in the new Parliament for proper discussion. Many concerns have been raised by prominent lawyers, civil society activists, political parties and the general public regarding draconian provisions inserted in new laws by the Modi government. These laws were passed in a very undemocratic manner last November when the more than 140 opposition MPs were undemocratically expelled by the Lok Sabha Speaker during the previous Lok Sabha.

Protests were held at many state capitals and district levels by CPIML activists and associated organisations. At Delhi's Jantar Mantar CPIML and lawyers' organisation AILAJ protested against three new criminal laws, which came into force on July 1, today, and will greatly erode the liberties and rights of citizens. The new code which is being advertised as a historic 'decolonization landmark' is actually more draconian than the colonial era code.

The protest at Jantar Mantar was addressed by CPIML Member of Parliament Sudama Prasad where he said that the changes introduced through three criminal laws equip the government with brute power to hollow out our democracy and transform India into a fascist state, hence they must be withdrawn. These laws will further increase the clampdown on legitimate political dissent and protest against social and economic exploitation in the country.

In a statement issued separately CPIML General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya has said that the “new criminal laws will turn India into a police state. Using the lens of Emergency we can call it an institutionalised permanent Emergency where the police will have arbitrary powers and dissenting citizens will be at permanent risk of being jailed.”

Comrade Sudama Prasad also extended his solidarity with the students protesting against NEET and NTA scam and promised to raise this important issue both inside and outside the Parliament. He condemned the FIR filed against AISA activists by Delhi police under the new criminal code for exercising their democratic right of protest.

Party central committee member Sucheta De and Delhi state secretary Ravi Rai along with many lawyer activists from AILAJ addressed the protesters today at Jantar Mantar.

In Bihar, protest marches were carried out in Patna, Darbhanga, Arrah, Siwan, Bettiah, Fatuha and other places terming the new criminal codes as anti-people and draconian. In Patna, protest was organised at Budhha Smriti Park, where CPIML state secretary Kunal said that the new criminal laws would transform India into a police state. He likened it to a constitutional emergency where the police would have arbitrary powers, posing a permanent threat of imprisonment for dissenting citizens. These laws are mere tools to erode civil liberties and enhance government repression, more dangerous than even the British era.

Protests were also held in Ranchi, Lucknow, Siliguri, Kolkata and dozens of other places in many states.

Earlier on June 27, CPIML Member of Parliaments had written a letter to the President of India along with the various civil society and lawyers’ petitions demanding the delaying the implementation of the new criminal codes. Writing to the President, the MPs noted that the new laws will erode liberties and legal safeguards of citizens by arming the state with more sweeping and draconian powers. The new laws need a thorough review and wider and more informed consensus. Please advise the government against rushing with their implementation.