REVIEW OF LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS
Freedom is the hallmark of our open and democratic Republic. The purpose of law is regulation in order to strengthen freedom. Laws must be just and reasonable and reflect our Constitutional values.
Congress believes that we are an over-legislated and over-regulated country. Laws, Rules and Regulations have proliferated and restricted freedoms. Consequently, there are severe restrictions on innovation, enterprise and experimentation, and economic growth has suffered.
Congress will initiate a total and comprehensive review of all laws, rules and regulations to:
- Repeal instruments that are outdated or unjust or unreasonably restrict the freedoms of the people;
- Amend instruments to bring them in accord with the Constitutional values of a democracy; and
- Codify and reduce the number of instruments that must be complied with by a citizen.
Specifically, Congress promises to:
- Decriminalise laws that are essentially laws directed against civil violations and can be subjected to civil penalties;
- Omit Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code and make ‘defamation’ a civil offence;
- Omit Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (that defines the offence of ‘sedition’) that has been misused and, in any event, has become redundant because of subsequent laws;
- Amend the laws that allow for detention without trial in order to bring them in accord with the spirit, and not just the letter, of the Constitution as well as International Human Rights Conventions;
- Pass a law titled the Prevention of Torture Act to prohibit the use of third-degree methods during custody or interrogation and punish cases of torture, brutality or other police excesses;
- Amend the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 in order to strike a balance between the powers of security forces and the human rights of citizens and to remove immunity for enforced disappearance, sexual violence and torture.
- Amend the laws to declare that every investigation agency that has the power to search, seize, attach, summon, interrogate and arrest will be subject to the restrictions imposed on the police by the Constitution, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act; and
- Amend the Code of Criminal Procedure and related laws to affirm the principle that ‘Bail is the rule and jail is the exception:’
- At the administrative level, Congress promises to:
- Release immediately all remand and under trial prisoners facing charges punishable with imprisonment of 3 years or less who have spent 3 months in prison;
- Release immediately all remand and under trial prisoners facing charges punishable with imprisonment of 3 to 7 years who have spent 6 months in prison; and
- Institute comprehensive prison reforms recognizing the principle that prisoners enjoy human and legal rights and that prisons are institutions of correction.