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'Severely Exclusionary': Queer Feminists & Activists Seek Disbanding of Criminal Law Reforms Committee

'Severely Exclusionary': Queer Feminists & Activists Seek Disbanding of Criminal Law Reforms Committee
The disbanding of the Criminal Law Reforms Committee which was constituted by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs was initiated by thirty queer feminists and activists.

According to the activists, they said that there was a lack of diversity in the composition of those committees that bear the brunt of criminal law- cisgender women, queer and trans persons, religious minorities, Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, persons with disabilities, and persons from rural and urban working-class communities.

The committee’s consultation process was “severely exclusionary” according to these activists and this was a matter of concern.

A statement given out by them stated, “The mere publication of questionnaire on an online website calling for feedback is not a method of public consultation for reform in the laws that touch every citizen’s life. The committee has not disclosed a plan of how it will consult with vulnerable communities that are disproportionately impacted by criminal law and not accessible via the internet.”

They called for the disbanding of the committee as they felt it was “unrepresentative and undemocratic”.

The committee was constituted in the month of May in 2019 and the committee constituted of 5 members: 

  1. Chairperson is the Vice-Chancellor of National Law University Delhi.
  2.  Prof. (DR) G.S. Bajpai is the Member and Convenor from National Law University Delhi. 
  3. Prof. (Dr.) Balraj Chauhan is a member and also a professor at National Law University Delhi. 
  4. Mr. Mahesh Jethmalani is a member and also a Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India. 
  5. Mr. G.P. Thareja is a member and also the Former District & Session Judge in Delhi.
The task of reforming substantive, procedural, and evidentiary criminal law in the country i.e. The Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Indian Evidence Act as per the information in the online notification is the main task performed by this committee.

Disbanding of this committee has been called by several people which includes former HC and SC judges, lawyers, academicians, activists, and many other people on the ground that it is not really representative and that the process is not transparent and democratic.


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