In Custody, Civil Liberties
Instead of decolonising criminal law, the three new Criminal laws related Bills should entrench colonial logic — where the state’s paramount interest is to control the people to the maximum extent.
Expansion of Police Powers and Overcriminalization
- Overextended Police Custody: BNSS proposes a drastic increase in police custody duration from 15 to 60 or 90 days, posing risks of abuse and coercion.
- Widespread Overcriminalization: BNS introduces broadly defined offenses, particularly related to national security, contributing to overcriminalization and state control.
- Lack of Transformative Vision: The bills lack a transformative vision for criminal law and justice, instead indicating an expansion of state control.
Ambiguous Offenses and Lack of Clarity
- Vague Offenses Persist: BNS II maintains ambiguous offenses like misinformation and "Acts endangering sovereignty," perpetuating concerns about unclear legal boundaries.
- Surrogate for Sedition: While removing "sedition," BNS II introduces a surrogate offense, lacking clarity and potentially widening the net for prosecution.
- Terrorism Definition Ambiguity: Ambiguity persists regarding the applicability of BNS to terror offenses, with an unclear decision-making process between BNS and UAPA.
- Missed Correctional Opportunities: Proposed bills miss the chance to address fundamental injustices in the criminal justice system, entrenching colonial-era state control.
- Inadequate Structural Reforms: Despite emphasis on timelines and technology, the bills overlook fundamental structural barriers, such as high judicial vacancies and forensic science issues.
- Efficiency vs. Context: The bills, emphasizing efficiency, fail to consider the context of implementation, especially regarding technology, forensic methods, and infrastructural challenges.