Response to Committee for Reforms in Criminal Laws Consultation

Common Cause has been sending its submissions to the questionnaire-based consultation started by the five-member Committee for Reforms in Criminal Laws, set up by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The questionnaire has been divided into six tranches and it will conclude on October 9, 2020. The Committee has also been tasked with looking into the possibility of newer legislation on varied subjects, right from sedition to marital rape. In addition, it will weigh in on myriad issues, including whether mob lynching should be penalised as a separate offence.

So far, we have submitted our detailed comments on two instalments of the questionnaire related to the reforms process. The responses to the First Consultation on Substantive Criminal Law, submitted on July 17, 2020, dealt with Strict Liability Offences, Offences Against the State, Offences Affecting Human Body, Sexual Offences, and many other issues.

We offered our responses to the Second Consultation on Substantive Criminal Law on August 11, 2020, which focussed on Offences By or Relating to Public Servants, Offences Relating to Public Tranquillity, Offences Affecting the Public Health, Safety, Convenience, Decency and Morals, among other things. 

In the second leg of the consultation process Common Cause offered detailed commentary on the question of Hate Speech, and whether it should be criminalised as a separate offence under the IPC. We suggested an amendment to the existing hate speech provisions within the IPC. We recommended that they should include the six factors introduced under the Rabat Plan of Action by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.