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Minor Offences Under 42 Laws Decriminalised

The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023 that seeks to decriminalise various offences and convert several fines into penalties in 42 laws.

Besides decriminalisation of minor offences, the bill envisages the rationalisation of monetary penalties, depending on the gravity of the offence, bolstering trust based governance.

The Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2022 was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 22, 2022 and sent to a Joint Committee of both Houses. The report was presented in Lok Sabha on March 20, 2023. Moving the bill for passage, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said that it will promote ease of doing business and ease of living by decriminalising a number of provisions. As per the Jan Vishwas Bill, 183 provisions in 42 Acts of Parliament related to 19 departments were decriminalised. “This has happened for the first time in India. If they repeat their mistakes, action can be taken,” Goyal said, adding that there is a calibrated approach to increase trust among people. He said the joint committee comprising 31 MPS did nine sittings and the government accepted six of the seven recommendations it made including converting fine to penalty, and an appellate body to recover penalties. However, one suggestion pertaining to retrospective changes wasn’t accepted. Goyal said that the process of decriminalising laws will continue. “We have setup a working group for decriminalisation of legislations comprising industry associations, legal professionals, law experts, and officials of seven departments and ministries,” he said. Officials of the Central Pollution Control Board and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development’, among others are also part of the group.

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