A law that will give victims of crime a stake in the prosecution of criminals, compensation for their pain and put an end to endless adjournments will come into force soon.
The government is set to enforce reforms to the criminal procedure code approved by Parliament last December.
Union home minister P Chidambaram had decided to put the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act 2008 on hold after lawyers went on strike to protest provisions that curtailed the right of police to arrest suspects for offences punishable with less than seven years’ imprisonment.
Since the protests were aimed at a few legal provisions only, a senior home ministry official said the government had come around to the view that the non-controversial provisions should be enforced without further delay.
“This law has already been pending for a long time,” the home ministry official said on conditions of anonymity.
Chidambaram’s predecessor at the home ministry, Shivraj Patil, had drafted the first version of the amendments three years ago in a bid to correct some of the distortions in the criminal justice system.
But it was only during last year’s winter session that the government pushed the legislation in Parliament.
It was cleared by both houses — in the Lok Sabha without a discussion — but the murmurs of protest started soon after.
Chief ministers’ were the first to oppose the amendments at the CMs’ conference in January, promptly followed by lawyers who struck work and women’s organisations.
A home ministry official said the government had referred the controversial clauses to the Law Commission three months ago for a review.