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Press Release: A National Conference on India’s New Criminal Laws by Surana & Surana International Attorneys and Vinayaka Mission’s Law School

In a distinctive collaborative initiative, Surana and Surana International Attorneys, in conjunction with Vinayaka Mission’s Law School, convened a one-day conference ‘Transforming Justice: A National Conference on India’s New Criminal Laws’ focused on comprehending the forthcoming criminal codes slated to supplant the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, and the Indian Evidence Act.

Vinayaka Mission’s Law School distinguishes itself through its commitment to an inclusive and bilingual approach to legal education. This approach underscores the institution’s dedication to fostering a scholarly environment where both linguistic perspectives are valued and integrated seamlessly into the study and practice of law.

The conference aimed to provide a scholarly platform for legal professionals and scholars to explore the nuances and implications of these new legislative frameworks.

The Conference consisted of four sessions—an inaugural session followed by separate specialised sessions on all three criminal codes. Dr Ananth Padmanabhan’s opening remarks reflect an interesting perspective on how new criminal laws are Transformative.

The tug-of-war between Law and Punishment was a curious aspect when he discussed the changes and introduction of new provisions in all the laws.

Introductory Session

The Introductory Session began by setting context to the pertinence and the importance of the New Laws and its subsequent integration into the Society. The Moderator Advocate, Kalyan Jhabakh, Senior Partner, Surana & Surana International Attorneys, provided his introductory thoughts about how the New Laws were an attempt to decolonize laws made during the British Era and address the change in perspective about how modern society required to revamp the Indian Criminal Justice and Process.

Mr. Justice KN Basha and Mr. Naveed Mehmood Ahmad, Team Lead, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, New Delhi, gave interesting insights into the provisions of the Three New Criminal Laws and shared their thoughts about implementation and practice. Justice Pasha shared memoirs about his interaction with various criminal laws and how the new set of Laws presents challenges.

Session 1

The Moderator Mr. Naveed began the discussion by introducing the Panelists and making opening remarks about how the New Criminal Laws have addressed a few important aspects but also commented about the possible safeguards and its implementation. Mr P Kandaswamy IPS, Former DGP opened the discussion by stating that the BNS is neither entirely incremental nor entirely disruptive in nature but is rather somewhere in between.

The panellists concurred on the introduction of New Offences such as Terrorism, Mob Lynching and Organised Crime. Furthermore, The Panelists welcomed the introduction of these offences, considering the rise and prevalence of these crimes in the society. Dr PRL Rajavenkatesan and Senior Advocate Mr. R John Sathyan presented interesting viewpoints when the discussion pertained to the practical application of these Laws in terms of stakeholders like the Prosecution, Police Machinery as they were of diverse opinions with regards to how effective it can be.

One of the salient points of discussion revolved around the introduction of Punishments to special offences when there were laws governing it. The Moderator Mr Naveed opened the discussions about the aspect of Preliminary inquiry when it comes to the New Laws, along with a Supreme Court Judgement and the Panel once again brilliant presented its views.

Session 2

During the second session moderated by Dr. C Fowmina, the panel featured Ms. Ramya Subramaniam, Advocate and Mr. Gowri Shangar, Asst Professor, Sathyabama University as speakers.

Ms. Subramaniam raised concerns regarding the potential adverse impact of time-bound trials under the new criminal codes. She emphasized that such provisions could place a significant burden on judges, potentially diverting attention from pending cases.

Mr. Shangar echoed these sentiments, highlighting the risk that expedited justice might compromise the thoroughness of legal proceedings. Nevertheless, he acknowledged certain positive changes in the procedural law that now incorporate gender-neutral language, offering a constructive perspective amidst the discussions.

For instance, summons can now be served to ‘any’ adult member and not only male adult member of the family.

Session 3

The third session of the conference, moderated by Professor Nishant Sheokhand, featured distinguished panelists including Senior Advocate Mr. T Gauthaman, Advocate Mr. Nithyaesh Natraj, and Dr. Hemalatha N.

The focus of this session was on the transformative impact of the new evidence law in the realm of criminal justice.Advocate Nithyaesh began by addressing the Importance of Evidence Law, stressing its far reaching Applicability to multiple Legislations.

He additionally remarked the extensive Importance given to the integration of technology with principles of Evidence. Dr. Hemalatha N emphasized significant challenges that may arise in implementing the law, particularly concerning procedural timelines and the judicious appreciation of evidence.

She underscored the evolving landscape where digital evidence plays a pivotal role, highlighting its interdisciplinary applications that extend into fields such as forensic medicine. She highlighted the need for the interaction of Capacity Building, which involves frequent sessions where the regular Interaction between the Judiciary, Advocates and Forensic people results in good advancements in terms of Law and Forensics.

Senior Advocate Gowthaman discussed the pertinence of Media Trials and how it is quintessential to look into it only through a legal lens and without prejudice. The Session ended on a high note with the moderator Prof. Nishant agreeing about the impact and importance of the Evidence Laws, with his remarks ‘Gems amongst the world of Rocks’ providing more than necessary context.

Photo:  L-R: Kalyan Jhabakh, Justice K N Basha, Naveed Mehmood Ahmad

Note: For this press release we have relied heavily on the content shared with us by the organising committee.

Source: Lawctopus

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