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Focus: GS-II Polity and Governance

Why in news?

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs said that States have been asked for their suggestions to amend the British era Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Highlights of the Minister’s speech

  • The government has amended criminal laws from time-to-time and enacted The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018, to prescribe more stringent penal provisions for convicts.
  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018 provides amongst many other provisions, the death penalty for rape or gang rape of a girl less than 12 years, no anticipatory bail for such crime, completion of investigation in two months, and trials to be completed in two months.
  • The Home Affairs Ministry is supporting States and Union Territories in setting up and strengthening woman help desks in police stations and strengthening Anti Human Trafficking Units in all districts.
  • The National Database on Sexual Offenders is used by police officers to identify repeat offenders, and receive alerts on sex offenders, as also in the investigation.
  • Police can also use this data for verification requests from various employers for their employees working in vulnerable areas, like educational institutions, hotels, public transportation.

Indian Penal Code (IPC)

  • The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the official criminal code of India.
  • It is a comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law.
  • The code was drafted on the recommendations of first law commission of India established in 1834 under the Charter Act of 1833 under the Chairmanship of Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay.
  • It came into force in British India during the early British Raj period in 1862. However, it did not apply automatically in the Princely states, which had their own courts and legal systems until the 1940s.
  • The Code has since been amended several times and is now supplemented by other criminal provisions.
  • After the partition of the British Indian Empire, the Indian Penal Code was inherited by its successor states, the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan, where it continues independently as the Pakistan Penal Code.
  • After the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan, the code continued in force there.
  • The Code was also adopted by the British colonial authorities in Colonial Burma, Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka), the Straits Settlements (now part of Malaysia), Singapore and Brunei, and remains the basis of the criminal codes in those countries.

-Source: The Hindu

June 2024