Ministry of Law and Justice to organise Conference titled ‘India’s Progressive Path in the Administration of Criminal Justice System’, in Kolkata tomorrow

OV Desk

On December 25, 2023, the President gave assent to “The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023”, “The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023”, and “The Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023”. As notified, these new criminal laws are to take effect from 1st July, 2024.

Over the last two months, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law and Justice, has organised two major conferences at New Delhi and Guwahati to generate awareness about these new laws, particularly amongst the stakeholders, legal fraternity, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, district administration officials, academia and students of law, besides citizens. 

Continuing with the effort, the Ministry proposes to organise three more similar conferences in Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai during June 2024. The conference in Kolkata – the third in the series of conferences on ‘India’s Progressive Path in the Administration of Criminal Justice System’ – shall be held tomorrow at ITC Royal Bengal, Haldane Avenue, Kolkata. Hon’ble Mr. Justice T. S. Sivagnanam, Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, shall grace the inaugural session of the Conference as the Chief Guest. It shall also be addressed by Hon’ble Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal, Hon’ble MoS (I/C) Ministry of Law & Justice, Government of India.

The Conference aims at bringing out the salient features of the three new criminal laws through meaningful interactions, deliberations, and Q&A sessions. The Conference shall be attended by delegates comprising of Hon’ble Judges and former Judges of various High Courts, District and Lower Courts, advocates, academicians, representatives of law enforcement agencies like police officials, from the States of West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, UP, Jharkhand and Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Island. Besides officers from other Investigative Agencies, Public Prosecutors, District Administration, law students from National Law Universities, and other Law Colleges, shall also partake in the Conference.

 The inaugural session will shed light on the overarching objectives of the new criminal law triad, set to redefine the structure of India’s Criminal Justice System and profoundly impact the lives of its citizens. In addition to the discourses in the inaugural session, there shall be three technical sessions, one on each new law, as detailed below:

Technical Session-I will feature in-depth discussions centred on adopting a comparative approach to assess the implementation of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 (BNS). Hon’ble Justice Joymalya Bagchi, Judge, Calcutta High Court, shall chair the session. The other panelists of the session include Sh. Shashi Prakash Singh, Addl. Solicitor General of Allahabad High Court, Prof. Anurag Deep of Indian Law Institute, New Delhi, Sh. Faisal Fasih, Asst. Prof. at WBNUJS, Kolkata, and Dr. Biswa Kallyan Dash, Asst. Prof. at National Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar. The session will be moderated by Prof. Vageshwari Deswal of Faculty of Law, University of Delhi.

Technical Session-II will discuss the salient aspects of Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023 (BSA) i.e. on evidence, a cornerstone in adjudicating guilt. Discussions will focus on the widened scope of “documents” and “evidence,” facilitated by the introduction of comprehensive definitions. This session shall be chaired by Hon’ble Justice Ananya Bandopadhyay, Judge, Calcutta High Court. Other panelists are Sh. Zoheb Hossain, Special Public Prosecutor & Advocate at Enforcement Directorate. Sh. Amit Prasad, Special Public Prosecutor & Advocate at Delhi High Court, Dr. Sarfaraj Ahmed Khan, Asst. Prof. at WBNUJS, Kolkata, and Dr. Shubham Pandey, Asst. Prof. at the National Forensic Science University, Gandhinagar. This session shall be moderated by Dr. K.A. Pandey, Professor at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University (RMNLU), Lucknow.

Technical Session-III will delve into the ramifications of the procedural changes introduced by the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 (BNSS) on investigation of crime by police officers, and infusion of ICT tools which has practical implications for the functioning of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies. The session shall be chaired by Justice Tirthankara Ghosh, Judge, Calcutta High Court. Other panelists are Sh. Vikramjit Banerjee, Ld. Additional Solicitor General of Supreme Court of India, Sh E. Chandresekaran, Advocate at Madras High Court, and, Dr. Neeraj Tiwari, Asst. Prof. at the National Law University, Delhi. The session shall be moderated by Prof. Mohd. Asad Malik, Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi.

The technical sessions shall be followed by a valedictory session. Hon’ble Governor of West Bengal, Dr. C.V. Ananda Bose, shall grace the valedictory session as the Chief Guest. The other guests shall be Hon’ble Mr Justice Shree Chandrashekhar, Chief Justice (Acting), High Court of Jharkhand and Prof. (Dr.) N.K. Chakrabarti, Vice Chancellor, WBNUJS, Kolkata.

In recent years, the Government of India has taken several initiatives to repeal archaic-colonial era laws and usher in legislation which are citizen-centric and cater to the requirements of a vibrant democracy.

“The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023”, “The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023”, and “The Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023” replace the earlier criminal laws namely the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), and Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (1 of 1872) which were in operation for several decades.

The Conference shall contribute to understanding and implementation of the criminal law triad seamlessly by generating awareness amongst the stakeholders and the citizens.

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