Prime Minister Narendra Modi with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

With just nine days left for the three new criminal laws to come into force in India, the West Bengal Chief Minister has urged the Prime Minister to postpone their implementation for now.

Sources in the state secretariat Nabanna said the process of updating the curriculum at police training schools was yet to be completed regarding the provisions of the three new criminal laws namely the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA).

In fact, the lack of preparedness on this count has been reflected in a letter from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting the latter to postpone the implementation of the new laws for the time being.

A copy of the letter dated June 20 had surfaced on Friday morning and IANS is in possession of it.

The letter to the Prime Minister states that the preparatory work for smooth transition to the new system is far from over. "...practically, the request for postponement stems from a pragmatic assessment of the challenges and preparatory work required for smooth transition, particularly concerning the training programme of law enforcement personnel and Judicial Officers," the letter from the Chief Minister read.

Mamata Banerjee
Mamata Banerjee

In the letter, CM Mamata Banerjee has also argued that any far-reaching legal change would require meticulous groundwork beforehand to ensure effective enforcement and administration.

State secretariat insiders said that a lack of coordination between the Centre and state governments on this homework is also a hurdle in implementing the preparatory and training programmes, an issue which the Chief Minister herself has expressed concern about.

On June 16, the Union Ministry of Law and Justice had organised a seminar on the subject in Kolkata and the grievance of the state government in the matter is that the Union ministry has not involved the West Bengal government in the matter at all.

"This is highly objectionable and this should have been organised by the state government as law and order is a state subject," the Chief Minister's letter to the Prime Minister read.

Legal brains, while accepting the West Bengal administration's grievance in the matter, questioned what stopped the state government from adopting its own initiatives for conducting systematic and time-bound training programmes in the matter.

According to the senior counsel of Calcutta High Court Kaushik Gupta, while legal practitioners will be doing their own homework prompted by their professional compulsions, similar training programmes for other stakeholders especially the police department should have started since the time the Bill was moved for clearance on the floor of the Parliament.

"So what I apprehend is that in the initial days, lots of complications will arise as regards to implementation of the three new criminal laws. However, the matter will settle down as time will pass," Gupta added.

(With inputs from IANS)