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July 10, 1997


Central government laws posted on Web

Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral has inaugurated a window on the Internet through which users can access nearly 3,000 central laws, many of which were drafted over 150 years ago.

The service, named INCODIS, will also enable people to communicate over the Web and advice the government on how to adequately amend and repeal laws which are outdated.

The prime minister threw open the Web site while inaugurating a two-day conference called by law and home ministers at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. The conference was also addressed by Law Minister Ramakant Khalap and Home Minister Indrajit Gupta.

The INCODIS has been programmed by the National Informatics Centre as part of the computerisation of the ministry.

The basic idea to programme is that such an Internet service would augment existing laws with the help of public views. The United Front mandate allows for vigorous measures to amend and repeal archaic laws.

The search facility of INCODIS is user-friendly as it is devised on free-text based queries. This system will enable the users to retrieve any Act by typing a few typical words which the user feels should be part of the text of the Act. INCODIS does not expect the user to follow its pre-designated keywords.

In the inaugural speech, the prime minister urged the states to take measures to make their laws accessible to the people in a similar manner.

Addressing the conference, Indrajit Gupta said there is a need for a comprehensive review of the Indian Penal code, Criminal Procedure Code and the Indian Evidence Act.

Stating that it is necessary to provide justice to the larger section of the society, specially the poorer sections, Gupta said: "Training, motivation and sensitisation of all types of officials connected with administration of justice is the need of the hour."

Gupta said the 154th report of the Law Commission had been circulated to all state governments and Union Territories in March, 1997. A core group in the home ministry has also been constituted to make an in-depth study of the recommendations and formulate the views of the government on these recommendations.

The first meeting of the core group was held on June 23, 1997. The home minister said the 154th report of the Law Commission consists of recommendations for the amendments to more than 80 sections and subsections of the CrPC, 1973. The recommendations of the commission mainly deal with amending the procedures for achieving speedy justice.

The commission has also, among others, suggested various amendments to the provisions relating to arrest, investigations and trial of women and also those relating to maintenance of wives, children and parents.

The Andhra Pradesh government has forwarded a 10-point amendment in the CrPC. The suggestions include empowering prosecutor to discontinue prosecution on evidential considerations, provide more powers to criminal courts to monitor investigation progress, fix time limits to investigations, classify less serious offences as summons cases and compoundable offences, submission of an agreed statement of schedule trial and allow courts to record evidence and pronounce judgement in the case of wilful default by the defence council or the accused.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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