Parliamentary panel welcomes law aiming to decriminalise offences of minor nature

New Delhi, Mar 20 (IANS): A high-level Parliamentary panel has lauded the government's intent to bring in the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill 2022, as part of its efforts to make the country a preferred global investment destination and to boost investors' confidence, noting that the law envisages decriminalising a large number of offences of minor nature by replacing the punishment with monetary penalties.

A joint committee of Parliament headed by BJP MP P.P. Chaudhary on Monday presented its report on the bill in Lok Sabha.

It appreciated the motive and intent of the government and noted that the Centre had earlier also repealed a number of laws from the statute book, as they had become obsolete or their retention as a separate Act was unnecessary.

"However, this Bill is a consolidated one with a holistic approach to decriminalise offences of minor nature by replacing the punishment with monetary penalties, which will reduce the burden of judiciary. The committee therefore recommended that such exercise should be continued in future by reviewing other Acts too and bring similar legislations before Parliament," the panel noted in its recommendations.

It recommended that the government and the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) may issue suitable advisories to state governments to take suitable action on similar lines taken by the Central government in reforming their laws and decriminalising minor offences by replacing punishments with monetary penalties, which shall also reduce the burden of cases in judicial system and improve investors' confidence.

In this regard, the committee also recommended that the nodal Ministry, namely DPIIT, may take the help of NITI Aayog and other stakeholders like regulatory bodies, business associations and industry bodies to create awareness by holding seminars and workshops about the reforms initiated through this Bill by the union government.

The committee desired that an exercise similar to Jan Vishwas Bill should be carried out by the government. In this regard, it recommended that the DPIIT should appoint a group of experts which should be a full time body consisting of legal professionals, industry bodies, members of bureaucracy and regulatory authorities to examine many other provisions of various laws that govern the twin aspects of ease of living and ease of doing business and suggest suitable amendments aimed at achieving the goal of the Central government.

It further recommended that the government may look into legalities and other consequences of giving a retrospective effect and if feasible, endeavour to bring the amendments proposed in the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2022 with retrospective effect thereby abating the pending legal proceedings in respect of offences being decriminalised.

The committee noted that in most of the Acts by way of the proposed amendment Bill, the concept of Adjudicating officer for dealing with defaulters has been proposed to be introduced. It has suggested that the Law Ministry, along with the respective administering ministries, may ensure that adjudication mechanism alongwith appellate authority for appeal by the aggrieved parties for adjudication of penalty be provided for in each of the Act seeking to impose penalty while decriminalising the provisions.



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Title: Parliamentary panel welcomes law aiming to decriminalise offences of minor nature

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