"Black Day": West Bengal Bar Council Protests New Criminal Laws

Mainstream
28-Jun-2024
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The West Bengal Bar Council announced on Wednesday that it will observe July 1 as 'Black Day' in protest against the implementation of three new criminal laws: Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) 2023, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) 2023.


These laws, which will replace the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and Indian Evidence Act, are set to come into effect on July 1, as confirmed by President Droupadi Murmu in her parliamentary address today.


The resolution to observe 'Black Day' was unanimously approved at the Bar Council meeting held on June 25. The attendees expressed strong opposition to the new laws, describing them as "anti-people" and "anti-democracy," and asserting that they will "severely harm the average person."


In the resolution, the Bar Council called on the presidents of all Bar Associations in West Bengal and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to withdraw from judicial work on July 1 and to organize protest rallies. 


"Resolved unanimously that as a mark of protest against Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023, this Council will observe 1st July 2024 as ‘Black Day’ and lawyers of West Bengal and Andaman & Nicobar Islands will abstain from their judicial work on that day and all Bar Associations to organize protest rallies in their respective association on the 1st July, 2024," the resolution stated.


The decision to protest reflects deep concerns within the legal community about the potential impact of the new laws. Critics argue that these laws may undermine democratic principles and restrict individual freedoms. The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) 2023 aims to overhaul the penal code, while the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) 2023 focuses on citizen security, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) 2023 addresses evidentiary procedures.


Legal experts and practitioners fear that the sweeping changes introduced by these laws could lead to increased governmental control and reduced checks and balances within the judicial system. The call for a 'Black Day' aims to raise awareness about these issues and mobilize public and professional support against the implementation of the new statutes.


As July 1 approaches, the legal fraternity in West Bengal and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is preparing to stand in solidarity, marking a significant moment of resistance against what they perceive as draconian changes to India's criminal justice system.


Author: Anushka Taraniya

News Writer