In the middle of a raging debate on the sedition law, President Pranab Mukherjee called for a thorough revision of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to meet the needs of the 21st century. He said that changes were necessary in the “archaic” police system.
“The IPC has undergone very few changes in the last 155 years. Very few crimes have been added to the initial list of crimes and declared punishable,” the President said at the valedictory event on the occasion of the 155th anniversary of IPC in Kochi on Friday.
“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 added.
The premier code for criminal law was a model piece of legislation but requires a “thorough revision to meet the changing needs of the 21st century”, he said.
In the light of the sedition law slapped on JNU students for allegedly raising anti-national slogans, there have been strong calls for either deleting Section 124 A of the IPC that deals with sedition or revise the old law drastically.
“It is a challenge to bring all new age offences with its intricacies within the ambit of the criminal law,” the President said.
According to Mukherjee, the image of police depends on its actions and in ensuring prompt, equitable and fair enforcement of laws.
“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 onus is on our law enforcing agencies to work towards transforming the archaic police system and bring it in tune with the requirements of a modern democratic nation,” said President Mukherjee.
He also urged the police to go beyond its role of merely being a law enforcing body and be a proactive partner in growth and development.
He also said the emerging threat and challenge from cyber crimes calls for a proactive response from law enforcement agencies.
“Crimes in the cyberspace like email spoofing, financial fraud, online gambling, match fixing, cyber defamation and cyber stalking call for an ingenuous and proactive response from the law providers,” he said.
The President also lauded Kerala Directorate of Prosecution for organising the event and also strengthening public confidence in the criminal justice system in the state.
Kerala Governor P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Oomen Chandy and those from the legal services of the state were present during the event.
(With inputs from PTI)