NEW DELHI, July 8 � Calling people of the Northeastern region by �derogatory� names will soon become a non-bailable offence and land you in jail for up to five years.
The Ministry of Home Affairs told the Delhi High Court today that it has decided to amend the IPC to strengthen the legal framework against racial discrimination.
�The Ministry of Home Affairs is in process of finalising a comprehensive bill for insertion of new sections of 153C and 509A in Indian Penal Code (IPC) which will be introduced in Parliament after Inter-Ministerial consultation,� a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath was told.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain handed over the copy of the action taken report on behalf of MHA and other Ministries, saying the Home Ministry accepted a recommendation of the MK Bezbaruah Committee constituted in February 2014, following a spate of attacks against people from the NE region living in Delhi.
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, ASG Jain said.
The proposed Section 153C makes imputations and assertions prejudicial to human dignity and makes words, both spoken and written, or signs attempting to discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, or indulging in activity intended to use criminal force or violence against a particular race, a non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment up to five years with fine.
The proposed Section 509A seeks to make any word, gesture or act intended to insult a member of a particular race with imprisonment that may extend to three years with fine.
The Centre had set up the committee after a 19-year-old Arunachal Pradesh student Nido Tania was killed in an alleged racial attack in Lajpat Nagar locality in South Delhi in January 2014.
The ASG, who was assisted by central government standing counsel Sanjeev Narula, submitted before the court that Delhi State Legal Service Authority has constituted a panel of seven lawyers including five women for assisting people from North East.
�Revised Delhi Victim Compensation Scheme 2015 will be made which will be operated by Delhi State Legal Service Authority. The investigation would be completed in such matters within 30 days and the compensation would be made within 24 hours of passing order. The compensation amount may be raised to Rs 25,000 per person,� the report said.
The Centre�s response came in the backdrop of the court�s earlier order expressing anguish over continuing incidents of violence against people from the NE and seeking a report from the government on the steps taken to curb �the menace plaguing the society�.
Delhi Police had told the court that a Special Police Unit has been set up to deal with such crimes. The court had taken suo-motu cognisance of media reports about the death of Tania, the son of an Arunachal MLA.