June 30, 2024
Transport Workers’ Federation Demands Hold on Implementation of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita-2023

THE All India Road Transport Workers’ Federation has written a letter to the home minister on June 27, demanding a hold on the implementation of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita-2023 Act. The federation emphasized the need for discussions with unions and stakeholders in the transport industry.

The letter cited previous correspondence and representation given by the federation on  January 2, 2024, and a notification given by the ministry dated February 23, 2024. The federation highlighted concerns regarding sections 106(1) & 106(2) of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita-2023 Act, which have a direct effect on drivers. They noted that these provisions have already led to protests and strikes earlier this year.

During the second day of the last strike by the transport workers, the secretary of the department of home affairs met with the leadership of the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) and assured them that the leadership would be consulted before implementation. Subsequently, a notification was issued to implement all provisions of the Act except 106(2), effective from July 1, 2024. However, after the formation of the new government, the law minister announced that the three new legal laws would be implemented from July 1, 2024. This announcement has been met with discontent from various people and organisations, who have written letters of protest. Additionally, the Bar Council of India passed a resolution on June 26, 2024, supporting the protests expressed by Bar Associations and State Bar Councils nationwide.

AIRTWF pointed out that under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), section 104 dealt with penalties for accidents, but the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita has split this into two subsections, 106(1) & 106(2), increasing the punishments to five and ten years respectively, as opposed to six months under IPC-304(A). The federation argued that many factors contributing to road accidents are beyond drivers' control and require detailed discussions, corrective steps, and policy decisions.

In light of these concerns, the federation requested the home minister to set aside the notification  issued and engage in discussions with trade unions in the road transport sector, stakeholders, and other concerned parties.