Law Ministry to Host Conference on Criminal Justice System in Guwahati with Assam Govt

In  recent years, the Government of India has taken several initiatives to repeal archaic colonial laws and usher in legislations which are citizen centric and cater to the requirements of a vibrant democracy. As part of this, recently, three new laws have been enacted to overhaul the criminal justice system in the country. The new legislations i.e. the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023; the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023, replace the earlier criminal laws namely, the Indian Penal Code 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. As notified, these new criminal laws are to take effect from 1stJuly2024.

To generate awareness about these new laws, particularly amongst the stakeholders and legal fraternity, the Ministry of Law and Justice is organising a Conference titled ‘India’s Progressive Path in the Administration of Criminal Justice System’, in association with the Government of Assam at Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Auditorium, IIT Guwahati Namati Jalah, Guwahati on 18th– 19th May 2024. The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarama, has consented to grace the occasion as the Chief Guest. Hon’ble Mr. Justice Hrishikesh Roy Judge, Supreme Court of India, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Vijay Bishnoi Chief Justice Gauhati High Court and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Biswanath Somadder Chief Justice High Court of Sikkim shall be the Guests of Honour. The other dignitaries who will grace the occasion include Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal, Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge) for the Ministry of Law and Justice, Govt. of India and Dr. Reeta Vashisth, Member Secretary, Law Commission of  India.

The Conference aims at bringing out the highlights of the three new criminal laws and organise meaningful interactions through technical and Q & A sessions. Besides, the judges of various courts, advocates, academicians, representatives of law enforcement agencies, police officials, public prosecutors, district administration officials and law students from the North Eastern States shall be participating in the Conference.It may be recalled, that the first conference of the series was held in New Delhi on 20th April 2024.

The inaugural session on 18th May, 2024 will shed light on the overarching objectives of the new criminal law triad, set to redefine the structure of India’s Criminal Justice System and profoundly impact the lives of its citizens. In addition to the discourses on the inaugural day, the second day of the conference shall be devoted to three technical sessions one on each new law as detailed below:

Technical Session -1 on 19th May 2024 will feature in-depth discussions centered on adopting a comparative approach to assess the implementation of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 (BNS). Hon’ble Mr. Justice SoumitraSaikia, Judge, Guahati High Court shall chair the session. The other panelists of the session include,Ms. Sangita Pradhan, Deputy Solicitor General, Sikkim High Court, Ms. Ipsita Borthakur, Special Judge (POCSO), Nagaon, Assam and Shri Amol Deo Chavhan, Associate Professor, NLUJA, Assam.

Technical Session – 2  on 19th May 2024 will discuss the salient aspects of Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023 (BSA)i.e. on evidence, a cornerstone in adjudicating guilt. Discussions will focus on the widened scope of “documents” and “evidence,” facilitated by the introduction of comprehensive definitions. This session shall be chaired by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Devashis Baruah, Judge, Gauhati High Court. Other panelists are Shri Ranjit Kumar Dev Choudhury, Deputy Solicitor General, Gauhati High Court, Dr. Nitesh Mozika, Deputy Solicitor General, Meghalaya High Court, Shri Roushan Lal, District & Sessions Judge, Karbi Anglong, Assam and Ms. Monika Sharma, Special Director (Enforcement), Directorate of Enforcement,

Technical Session 3 on 19th May 2024 will delve into the ramifications of the procedural changes introduced by the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 (BNSS) on investigation of crime by police officers, and infusion of ICT tools which has practical implications for the functioning of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies. The session shall be chaired by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Arun Dev Choudhury, Judge, Gauhati High Court, Shri Khomdram Samarjit Singh, Deputy Solicitor General, Manipur High Court, Shri E. Chandrasekaran, Advocate, Madras High Court and Shri Neeraj Tiwari, Assistant Professor, NLU Delhi.

The Conference shall contribute in understanding and implementation of the criminal law triad seamlessly by generating awareness amongst the stakeholders and the citizens.