Ashwini Upadhyay’s PIL in SC for ‘One Nation One Penal Code’, instead colonial era IPC

NEW DELHI: A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Centre to set a judicial panel or a body of experts to draft a “comprehensive” and “stringent” penal code for ensuring rule of law and equality and after examining existing statutes, including Indian Penal Code of 1860, relating to crime and corruption.

“Direct the Centre to constitute a judicial commission or an expert committee to examine all domestic-internal laws relating to corruption-crime and draft a comprehensive stringent ‘one nation one penal code’ in order to secure rule of law, equality before law and equal protection of laws,” the PIL, filed through advocate Ashwani Dubey, said.

The plea, filed by senior Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, alternatively urged the top court that it being “custodian of the Constitution and protector of fundamental rights” may direct the Law Commission India to examine “domestic and internal laws relating to corruption and crime and draft a stringent comprehensive Indian Penal Code within six months”.

It further sought a direction to the Centre to ascertain the feasibility of implementing a stringent and comprehensive Indian Penal Code (One Nation One Penal Code) instead of existing outdated laws relating to corruption and crime.

The petition, which may come up for hearing next week, said that the injury to the public due to the 161 years old colonial IPC was extremely large.

It said, “rule of law and right to life, liberty and dignity can’t be secured without implementing a stringent and comprehensive ‘One Nation One Penal Code’ having specific chapters on bribery, money laundering, black money, profiteering, adulteration, hoarding, black marketing, drug smuggling, gold smuggling and human trafficking”.

“If this IPC had been even a little effective, then many Britishers would have been punished, not the freedom fighters. In fact, the main reason behind creating the IPC 1860 and Police Act 1861 was to prevent another revolt like that of 1857,” it said.

It added that laws related to witch-hunting, honour killing, mob lynching, Goonda Act, etc. are not included in the IPC though these are pan-India offences, and the sentence is different for the same offence in various States.

“Therefore, to standardise the punishment and make them uniform, a new IPC is essential. India needs a comprehensive Penal Code that provides equal protection to all the citizens against all the offences and secures right to life, liberty, dignity and rule of law,” it said.