Delhi Assembly clears bill to amend CrPC

Despite serious objections by the Law Department on the draft proposal pertaining to amendments in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), Delhi Assembly on Monday passed a Bill proposing amendments in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), setting up another tussle with the Centre, as it seeks to broaden the scope of magisterial probes into cases of kidnapping, police custodial deaths, suspicious murders, rapes and disappearances.

Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain introduced this Bill in the House and three ruling party legislators Madan Lal, Kailash Gehlot, Somnath Bharti have supported their government on this Bill.

Up until now, magisterial probe is ordered only in cases of custodial death, homicide, suicide of a woman or death of a woman.

Through the amendment to section 176(1) of CrPC, the government wants to widen its scope to cover any other cases of suspicious disappearance, rapes in police custody, suspicious death, Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain, who tabled the Bill, said. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that except three issues — police, land and law and order, the city government has the power to bring amendments in laws governing other areas.

Sisodia stated in house that the Criminal Procedure Code comes under Concurrent list which allows both the centre and the state to formulate their laws under the CrPc.

Earlier, in 2011 the CrPc had been amended by previous Delhi government.

“No question should be raised over the power of Delhi Assembly,” Sisodia said, adding that the bill will now be sent to President through the Lieutenant Governor. “It is up to President whether he pass or reject this bill on the advice of the Centre,” Sisodia added.

Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta lodged his protest against the Bill saying only Parliament has powers to amend the CrPC.

“By introducing this Bill the Delhi government is challenging the authority of parliament. It is disrespect of Parliament,” he said.

Significantly, he assured the government of assistance, provided it approaches through the “proper channel.” In that case we will approach the Centre as well for the amendments,” he said.

The government also tabled the Delhi (Right of Citizen to Time Bound Delivery of Services) Amendment Bill under which officials are liable to pay penalty for delay in providing services included in the citizens’ charter. It also seeks to ensure “automatic and mandatory” compensation for people doing away with the need to separately apply for it.

The Bill envisages entrusting a competent officer with the purpose of effecting payment of compensation to an individual and recovery of the compensation from the officer or person responsible.
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