Indian Penal Code requires a thorough revision to meet the changing needs of the twenty-first century, says President
The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Valedictory Function of 155th Anniversary of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 organized by the Directorate of Prosecution, Kerala today (February 26, 2016) at Kochi, Kerala.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said there is no doubt that the IPC as a premier code for criminal law is a model piece of legislation. Nevertheless, it requires a thorough revision to meet the changing needs of the twenty-first century. The IPC has undergone very few changes in the last one hundred fifty-five years. Very few crimes have been added to the initial list of crimes and declared punishable. Even now, there are offences in the Code which were enacted by the British to meet their colonial needs. Yet, there are many new offences which have to be properly defined and incorporated in the Code.
The President said security of citizens and of property is an essential function of a State. It is achieved through the instrumentality of criminal law. The mandate of criminal law is to punish criminals and prevent recurrence of crime. Criminal Law has to be necessarily sensitive to changes in social structure and social philosophy. It has to be a reflection of contemporary social consciousness and a faithful mirror of a civilization underlining the fundamental values on which it rests.
The President said the ‘Rule of Law’ is the cardinal principle on which a modern state rests. It has to be upheld at all times. It is incumbent on the law enforcing agencies, particularly the police force, to fulfill its foremost duty of maintaining law and order sincerely and with dedication. The image of the police depends on its ‘actions’, in ensuring prompt, equitable and fair enforcement of laws. The police in our country must go beyond its role of being a law enforcing body. It has to also be a proactive partner in growth and development. The founding fathers of our Constitution had conceived inclusiveness, tolerance, self-restraint, honesty, discipline, respect and protection of women, senior citizens and weaker sections as essential ingredients of our democracy. Our police force must incorporate these features in its functioning.
The President said public prosecutors also play a crucial role in upholding the Rule of Law. They play a key role in instilling and strengthening public confidence in the criminal justice system. Prosecutors are obligated to ensure that the accused receive a fair trial while looking after the interests of the victims. It is therefore essential to equip public prosecutors with tools and knowledge to enable them to effectively respond to various forms of crimes. He called upon the public prosecutors to play a more strategic and pro-active role in formulating crime control policies. He stated that their efforts must be directed at ensuring the prevalence of a fair, transparent and efficient criminal justice system in the country.