The criminal justice system largely victimises the poor and vulnerable sections of society and there is an urgent need for reform on multiple fronts, Chief Justice of India HL Dattu said today as he called for the scrapping of laws which criminalise begging and sex work.
“Not only does the criminal justice system largely victimise the poor and vulnerable sections of society, very often, laws themselves criminalise poverty and destitution,” Dattu said on the occasion of Law Day function on the Supreme Court lawns.
“In India, laws criminalising beggary, sex work and certain occupations of the tribal community are often largely seen by the scholars and human rights activists as widening the net of criminality by punishing destitution.
“Along with legal aid, there must be an intense process to redo the acts that are criminalised towards decriminalisation of acts that has a disproportionate impact on the poor,” he said at the function where Union Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, too, was present.
On the issue of protection of women against sexual violence, Dattu said, “We seem to be having a growing affinity for ensuring physical safety of women by curbing their freedom.
“As far as I am concerned, I would like to emphatically state in no uncertain terms that the security of women is not achieved by curbing their freedom and liberty and it is no security at all. We have to evolve some systematic reforms,” he said.
The Law Minister, who spoke before the Chief Justice, dwelt upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ project, saying that the country is being converted into a major global player through the creation of a business- friendly environment.
Efforts should be undertaken to make India an international arbitration hub, he added.
He said, “The government is pushing the concept of ‘Make in India’ and converting the country into a major global player, for which we need to have a business-friendly environment.