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Upon his appointment as Home Minister, Mr. Amit Shah called for revamp of criminal laws. Committees were set up to recommend changes to the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (Cr.P.C.) and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. In the last two decades, amendments have been made to these codes – primarily based on the recommendations of the Justice Malimath Committee (2003), the Law Commission of India, and the Justice Verma Committee (2013). More recently, concerns relating to over-criminalization, overarching use of the criminal law, especially against dissenters, and whittling down of procedural rights have come to the fore. This panel will discuss whether there is need for criminal justice reforms, and if so, areas in which reforms are required. Recent developments and contemporary challenges will be discussed, as also whether the law adequately protects the rights of all the stakeholders in the system – the accused, the victim, and the society in general.
Justice Basant Raghavan was born on May 5, 1950. He was enrolled as an Advocate on October 13, 1973 after acquiring a B. Sc., LL.B. He practised in the District Court Calicut and Subordinate Courts in Civil, Criminal and Labour matters. He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Kerala High Court on September 9, 2002 and as Permanent Judge on September 8, 2004.
He retired on May 5, 2012 and is currently a legal practitioner in the Supreme Court of India.
Vrinda Grover is a lawyer, researcher and human rights activist based in New Delhi, India. She obtained her law degree from Delhi University and her Masters in Law from New York University, School of Law. She actively engages with the women’s rights and human rights movements.
As a lawyer she specialises in constitutional law, criminal law and human rights and has appeared in landmark cases including the Anuradha Bhasin case challenging the internet blockade in Kashmir, the Romila Thapar case on behalf of the human rights defenders arrested in the Bhima Koregaon conspiracy, the Ishrat Jahan, Seshachalam and Disha extra judicial killing cases, the Hashimpura targeted killing of Muslims by the police, Soni Sori and other victims and survivors of sexual violence, the Nirbhaya accused in the death sentence matter.
Vrinda has contributed to the drafting of laws to protect women and children from domestic violence and sexual violence. She played a key role in 2012 in campaigning for amendment of criminal laws relating to sexual violence against women, which led to the passing of The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 and the model medical protocol for examination of rape victims.
Vrinda’s research and writing probes impunity for targeted violence against religious minorities, human rights violations in areas of conflict and the role of law in the subordination of women
In 2018, she was conferred an Honorary Degree by SOAS, University of London, in recognition of her contribution to the area of human rights and civil liberties. In 2013 The Time magazine listed her among the 100 most influential people in the world.
Isha Pant is an officer from the 2011 batch, Madhya Pradesh cadre of the Indian Police Service.
She received the Prime Minister’s baton and Home Ministry’s revolver at the 64th Dikshant Parade during her police training from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA) in Hyderabad.
She was awarded as the best all-around Indian Police Service (IPS) probationer in 2012.
She is currently serving as Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru City.
Mrinal Satish is a Professor of Law at the National Law School, Bangalore. He is the former Chairperson of the Delhi Judicial Academy. Mrinal specializes in criminal law. He has been involved in various criminal law reform efforts. He was part of the research team that assisted the Justice Verma Commitee on reform to rape laws (2013). He has assisted the 20th and 21st Law Commissions of India on multiple projects involving criminal law reform. He was part of the sub-committee constituted by the Law Commission to draft its 262nd report, which was on the death penalty. He is the author of the book Discretion, Discrimination, and the Rule of Law: Reforming Rape Sentencing in India (Cambridge University Press), which is an updated and revised version of his doctoral dissertation submitted to Yale Law School.