Cabinet clears bill to decriminalise various offences in 42 laws

The Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2022 will amend almost 113 imprisonment clauses in matters pertaining to environment, housing and money laundering, among others

Representative image of Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2022 (Photo: IANS)
Representative image of Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2022 (Photo: IANS)
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IANS

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2022 that proposes to decriminalise various offences in 42 laws, including minor ones that invite jail term.

The Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2022 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 22, 2022 and its aim is to reduce the compliance burden on individuals and businesses to fulfil the twin objectives of ease of doing business and ease of living for the citizens.

It will amend almost 113 imprisonment clauses in various pieces of legislation, governing matters pertaining to the environment, air pollution, housing, and money laundering, among others.

Soon after its introduction, the Bill was referred to a joint Parliamentary panel led by BJP MP P.P. Chaudhary. The panel had submitted its report in the Lok Sabha on the proposed legislation in March 2023 during the Budget Session.

It had suggested that the government should bring the amendments proposed in the law with “retrospective effect for abating pending legal proceedings in respect of offences being decriminalised”.

Unlike civil liabilities, criminal liabilities cannot be imposed retrospectively. However, they can be done away with retrospective effect.

The panel in its report agreed in principle with a majority of the 183 provisions proposed to be amended across 42 Acts administered by 19 ministries.

In many instances, it had recommended imposition of penalty rather than fine to "avoid increase in litigation".

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