Thirty queer feminists and activists have called for the disbanding of the Criminal Law Reforms Committee constituted by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to “recommend reforms in the criminal laws of the country”.
The activists stated that the composition of the committee lacks diversity in terms of those communities 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. They complained that the committee’s consultation process is “severely exclusionary”.
“The mere publication of questionnaire on an online website calling for feedback is not a method of public consultation for reform in 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”, said the statement. They called for the disbanding of the Criminal Law Reforms Committee, which was called “unrepresentative and undemocratic”.
The composition of the Criminal Law Reforms Committee, which was constituted last May, is as follows:
- Prof. (Dr.) Ranbir Singh (Chairperson), Vice-Chancellor, National Law University Delhi
- Prof. (Dr.) G.S. Bajpai (Member & Convenor), Registrar, National Law University Delhi
- Prof. (Dr.) Balraj Chauhan (Member), Professor, National Law University Delhi
- Mr. Mahesh Jethmalani (Member), Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India
- Mr. G.P. Thareja (Member), Former District & Session Judge, Delhi.
The committee is mandated with 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.
Read the statement here: