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Report No. 156

Annexure VII

Proceedings of the Workshop on "Criminal Law" Conducted by Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh in Collaboration With Law Commission of India and Bar Council of India Trust Held on 25th and 26th October, 1996 at Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh)

Apart from the normal inaugural and valedictory sessions, there were five working sessions, namely-

(a) Working Session I-Proposed amendments to Indian Penal Code.

(b) Working Session II-Sentences and sentencing policies and procedures.

(c) Working Session III-Arrest, remand and custody.

(d) Working Session IV-Shift in trends of question of burden of proof in criminal matters.

(e) Working Session V-Mens rea and modern criminal legislation.

2. As is clear from the above, Working Sessions III and IV do not relate to Indian Penal Code.

Working Session I

Faculty that led the Session:

(1) Shri Justice K. Jayachandra Reddy

(2) Shri K.G. Kannabiran

(3) Shri B. Jangam Reddy

Shri Justice Jayachandra Reddy while briefing the participants outlined the passing of I.P.C. and the times it has seen and some amendments made here and there during the long period of 136 ,years. Shri Jangam Reddy in his address traced the historical events.

He dealt with in his address amendment to section 124A which deals with 'Sedition'. He said that all the great leaders of the country were put behind the bars under this section-during emergency also most of the leaders were arrested. In addition to what is there, it is now sought to be amended. Even words that excite disaffection for administration of justice is also included. He posed a question "suppose the administration is unethical-is it wrong in criticising?" He wanted it to be considered. Dealing with sections 299 and 300, I.P.C. he said they are better not to be disturbed.

Mens rea changes the perspective of the crime. He said that every one is trying to avoid responsibility. He said it is profit careering, looting and making money in anonymous names and evade detection. He suggested that such property, ill-gotten, shall be forfeited. He says that there is no law forfeiting such ill-gotten wealth and he said that there is little dividing line dishonesty. He lamented that our legislators are educated illiterates. He opined that suggested amendment to section 124A is death sentence to freedom of speech, press and liberty.

He specifically pointed out that there is no specific provision in I.P.C. that deals with the killing of animals by rash and negligent act. Section 429, I.P.C. contemplates cruelty and it is a warrant case. Therefore, the life of an animal is as important as a man.

He specifically suggested:

(1) Wider circulation of amendments.

(2) No amendment is proposed to tackle "scams" and incidentally he said that section 438, Cr.P.C. should be made non-applicable to such offences.

(3) He said that attempts of certain offences are sought to be made but section 511, I.P.C. is more comprehensive and is alright.

(4) The new section 120C does not appear to have been drafted properly. Minimum sentence prescribed puts unnecessary fetters on judge's discretion. There can be no hard and fast rule in avoiding sentence.

(5) Dealing with the proposed amendments "sexual assaults" he said sections 375, 376 and 376A are more clear than the proposed amendments.

(6) Section 376A punishing even preparation for committing rapes punishable will be atrocious. This gives scope for false implication. So it should be deleted. Shri Kannabiran said that offences against human rights are not considered so far. He lamented that a person who takes Rs. 50 or Rs. 100 is treated or par with the person who accepted even crores. He opined it is necessary to define offences committed by the political persons. He said that rarest of rare cases shall not be defined. He is not for the state taking up retributory theory.

Shri C. Padmanabha Reddy said that there is lot of confusion while dealing with sections 302, 304, Part I and 304 Part II-there are number of judgements which are not consistent. There is any amount of necessity about clarification. He said that if there is intention to cause death it comes under section 302 and if there is knowledge only it will come under 304, Part II. That much appears to be sufficient. He said that separate definition has to be added to section 304B defining 'dowry' clearly.

Smt. Laxmi Rambabu referred to offences against women.

Shri M. Satyanandam, Metropolitan Sessions Judge, Visakhapatnam referred to Scams, Economic Terrorism, Consumer Terrorism, Offences against Human Rights, Offences committed by politicians. He specially pleaded for making any offences against quality control, culpable.

Prof. K. Gupteswar, Principal, P. Venkatasubbaiah Law College, Hyderabad opined that attempts should be directed towards reformation and decretal manila station. He said it is better to unburden the I.P.C. rather than putting more into it. He said that illustrations alter the section are not, necessary. He referred to making a provision for unnatural offences and false marriages.

Shri Kandala Srinivasarao, Advocate, Visakhapatnam said that the words 'misappropriation' is not defined. Better if it done. Secondly, he said that since the word 'relative' in section 498A, I.P.C. is not defined, persons, for the single reason of being related to the husband are harassed even though they are nowhere near the place of residence of the married woman at the relevant point of time.

It is, therefore, necessary to define 'relative' in section 498A by adding explanation limiting to those who are living with the couple at the relevant point of time. He said that section 498A is more abused and misused than used. He also pleaded for addition of section 493B making a wife punishable if she is cruel to her husband.

Shri Kannati Rama Mohan, Member, Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh opined that for temporary purposes/situations statutes should not be made. He pleaded for deleting section 498A as it is used as a handle by the police and spoiling the fabric of the society. It should be scrapped.

Kumari Kuljit Kaur, Advocate, Visakhapatnam suggested that offence under section 302, I.P.C. should be made compoundable. Section 354, I.P.C. should be divided into parts to attract eve teasing also.

Shri T. Venkataratnam, Advocate, Visakhapatnam observed that section 498A, I.P.C. is more misused. He commented that offence under section 498, I.P.C. charge sheet cannot be filed on their own.

Prof. R. Venkatarao, A.U. Law College, Visakhapatnam observed that there appears to be some compromise in regard to the capital punishment and rarest of rare cases referring to AIR 1984 SC 1029 decision. The decision is illustrative and not exhaustive. Minimum mandatory sentence provisions are going opposite to human life.

Shri P.A. Kishore, Advocate, Visakhapatnam referred to section 498A and demanded that there must be a section to deal with cruel wives.

Shri K.V. Ramamurthy, Advocate, Visakhapatnam observed that section 420, I.P.C. is limited to property offences; "deception" is not defined, so also "bankruptcy" and "black mail" are not defined. He also referred about constructive liability.

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