Delhi Assembly passes bill for bringing amendments in CrPC

New Delhi: Setting another flashpoint with the Centre, Delhi Assembly today passed a bill proposing amendments in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) as it sought to broaden the scope of magisterial probes into cases of kidnapping, suspicious deaths, rape and disappearances.

The move is being as seen as a way to tighten the noose against those police officers who show “indifferent” attitude in handling cases, and the government will have power to order magisterial probe into such incidents.

The Opposition BJP, meanwhile, accused the AAP government of “challenging” the authority of Parliament by empowering itself through the move. CrPC is a subject in the Concurrent list.

Till now, magisterial probe is ordered only in cases of custodial death, homicide, suicide of a woman or death of a woman.

Tabling the Bill, Home Minister Satyendar Jain said that if President Pranab Mukherjee passes the proposed bill, DMs and SDMs will have power to investigate those cases in which government thinks that magisterial probe should be ordered.

Jain also said that through the amendment to section 176(1) of the CrPC, the government wants to widen its scope to cover any other cases of suspicious disappearance, rapes in police custody, suspicious death.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that except three issues – police, land and law and order, the city government has the power to bring amendments in laws governing other areas.

“No question should be raised over the power of Delhi Assembly,” he said.

Sisodia said that the Bill will now be sent to President through Lt Governor Najeeb Jung.

“It is up to the President whether he passes or rejects this bill on the advise of the Centre,” Sisodia also said.

“The government does not want to limit the scope of the magisterial inquiry only to custodial death, homicide, suicide of a woman or death of a woman, but to any other act which the state government thinks fit for a magisterial inquiry,” Sisodia said.

Rejecting claims of BJP MLAs that the city government doesn’t have authority to amend the CrPC, the deputy chief minister also said that in 2011, the previous government had amended the CrPC.

“Every state can bring amendments in the CrPC. In the past, several states have also done the same. Delhi government is following all laid down rules mentioned in the Constitution,” Sisodia said.

Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta lodged his protest against the Bill claiming “only Parliament has powers to amend the CrPC”.

“By introducing this Bill the Delhi government is challenging the authority of Parliament. It is a disrespect of Parliament,” he said.