New Delhi: Making “derogatory" remarks against people from north-eastern states will be made a punishable offence, the government told the Delhi high court on Wednesday.
The Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code will soon be amended to strengthen the legal framework against racial discrimination, additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain told the court.
A home ministry official told Mint that the government has accepted the recommendations of the M.K. Bezbaruah committee set up in February 2014 following a spate of violent attacks against people from the North East in the national capital and other cities.
“The proposed amendments are likely to be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament," the official said.
The Centre set up the committee comprising 10 experts after a 19-year-old student from Arunachal Pradesh, Nido Tania, was killed in an alleged racial attack in south Delhi in January 2014. The committee met delegations of people from north-eastern states in Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Mumbai where there are a substantial numbers of students and workers from that region.
Jain said a comprehensive bill is being finalized for insertion of new sections 153C (imputations or assertions prejudicial to human dignity) and 509A (word, gesture or act intended to insult a member of a particular racial group) in the IPC. These offences are likely to be non-bailable and could be punishable by up to five years in jail.
“Besides insertion of new sections in the IPC, facilities for legal assistance, special police initiatives, bonding power of sports and educating the people about the north east have been also taken care of," Jain said.
Kavitha Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, said that the proposed amendments are a welcome move and that legislation must be carefully drafted. “We should learn from the lacunae in legislation aimed at protecting a particular group, like the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention Of Atrocities) Act and make sure implementation of law is smooth."
Elizabeth Roche contributed to the story.