Kochi: President Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday that the Indian Penal Code (IPC) requires thorough revision to meet the changing needs of the 21st century.
Inaugurating the valedictory function of 155th anniversary of the IPC which was enacted in 1860, organised by Kerala's directorate of prosecution, he said there is no doubt that the IPC as a premier code for criminal law was a model piece of legislation.
"Nevertheless, it requires a thorough revision to meet the changing needs of the 21st century. The IPC has undergone very few changes in the last one 150 years. Very few crimes have been added to the initial list of crimes and declared punishable. Even now, there are offences in the Code which were enacted by the British to meet their colonial needs," he said.
There are many new offences which have to be properly defined and incorporated in the code, the president noted.
Stressing security of citizens and of property was an essential function of a state and achieved through criminal law, he said its mandate is to punish criminals and prevent recurrence of crime but it also "has to be a reflection of contemporary social consciousness and a faithful mirror of a civilisation underlining the fundamental values on which it rests".
Terming rule of law the cardinal principle of a modern state, he said this has to be upheld at all times, while law enforcing agencies, particularly police force, must fulfil their foremost duty of maintaining law and order, but also go beyond the role a law enforcing body and be a "proactive partner in growth and development".
"The founding fathers of our constitution had conceived inclusiveness, tolerance, self-restraint, honesty, discipline, respect and protection of women, senior citizens and weaker sections as essential ingredients of our democracy. Our police force must incorporate these features in its functioning," he said.
The president said public prosecutors play a crucial role in upholding the rule of law, and also called on them to play a more pro-active role in formulating crime control policies.