Chidambaram joins parliamentary panel examining new criminal laws


Rajya Sabha chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar has nominated P Chidambaram, former home minister and current Congress member, to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs. The appointment follows the retirement of Congress member P Bhattacharya from Rajya Sabha.
The committee is presently scrutinising three pivotal bills—Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Bill—that aim to replace existing criminal laws such as the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the Indian Evidence Act.
A bulletin from the Rajya Sabha secretariat confirmed Chidambaram’s nomination, which became effective on August 28, 2023. The announcement came ten days after Dhankhar directed the committee to examine the aforementioned bills and submit a report within three months. Home Minister Amit Shah had introduced these bills in Lok Sabha on August 11.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs is a Rajya Sabha committee, but it comprises members from both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. Brij Lal, a BJP member, currently chairs the committee.
The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, one of the bills under examination, proposes a variety of changes to existing laws, including defamation clauses and provisions related to attempts to commit suicide. The bill also expands the scope of offences against women and introduces new offences such as acts of secession, armed rebellion, and subversive activities. Importantly, the term “terrorism” is defined for the first time, a move not undertaken in the existing IPC.
Chidambaram’s nomination comes at a critical juncture, as the committee grapples with the implications of these sweeping legal reforms. His expertise as a former home minister may provide valuable insights during the committee’s deliberations.