Chidambaram promises ‘special law’ if Congress votes for power

Congress leader P. Chidambaram said on Sunday that the country needs a legal system where “bail is the rule, jail the exception”. At a recent press conference in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, Chidambaram outlined legal reforms and policy changes that his party plans to implement if it comes to power. His comments come amid heightened scrutiny into recent arrests, including those of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, ex-Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren and BRS MLC K Kavitha. The INDIA bloc is also all set to hold a major rally in Jharkhand’s Ranchi today.

“We also promise to introduce a special law that would say: ‘Bail is the rule, prison is the exception’; he was a great son of Kerala, Judge Krishna laid down the law. Bail is the rule, jail is the exception, in the words of Justice Krishna,” he said.

“This rule is rarely followed by the lower judiciary, magistrates and district judges, and ultimately not everyone can go to the High Court to get bail. 65% of prisoners are on trial, they are not convicts, so why are they in jail,” Chidambaram said.

He added, “90% of the undertrials are OBCs, SC and ST, that is why we would bring in a special law ‘Bail is the rule, jail is the exception’ – everyone must be jailed after the first 15 days of interrogation by the police or the CBI be granted bail”.

To address legislative changes, Chidambaram vowed to repeal, amend and revise several laws – introduced by the BJP government – ​​including the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019.

“We will repeal, amend and revise the following sets of laws – CAA 2019, it is at the top of the list,” he said, adding, “The Farmers Produce, Trade and Commerce Promotion of Facilitation Act 2020, the Bharatiya Nyaya (second ) Sanhita which is equivalent to IPC, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita which is the CrPC and the Bharatiya Sakshya (second) act which is the evidentiary act.

“These five will be completely withdrawn. Then we have eight laws that will be repealed and new laws will be made. Then we have 25 laws that will be amended and brought into line with the Constitution. So, it is absolutely clear that the Citizenship Amendment Act will be repealed,” the former Union minister said at a press conference today.

Highlighting unemployment as an urgent issue, the senior Congress leader said, “The biggest challenge for India is unemployment; some sections underestimate this problem, but this is the biggest problem. My experience is that we have never had such high unemployment.”

“The labor force participation rate has fallen, the labor force has fallen, female labor force participation has fallen dramatically and unemployment is the highest among college graduates. Among graduates, unemployment is as high as 42%, and that is why we have this degrading phenomenon of graduates, postgraduate students and engineers,” he added.

Expressing confidence in Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s electoral prospects in Wayanad, Chidambaram said, “The people of Wayanad will re-elect Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with a resounding majority.”

“On the day the results are declared, the people of Wayanad will send a message of condolence to Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he told ANI.