Putin endorsed a law on decriminalization of battery, delinquency in payment of maintenance and minor larceny

Putin endorsed a law on decriminalization of battery, delinquency in payment of maintenance and minor larceny

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law, which decriminalizes several articles of the Criminal Code, including a battery, a delinquency in payment of maintenance and a minor larceny up to a figure of 5 000 rubles. Previously, the bill, which passed the State Duma far June and was approved by the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, drew the fire of different officials, especially, from the Russian Orthodox Church and the senator Elena Mizulina.

The State Duma passed the bill on decriminalization of some articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation on 21 June. The initiation of bills came from Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. June 29 the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation also approved the bill.

Before the approval the discussion between senators emerged – some of them claimed that the bill conduced the legalization of the juvenile justice system and the intrusion upon family affairs. However, the speaker of the Council of Federation Valentina Matvienko proposed to approve the bill and establish a working group, which would look into the matter of criticism and find the “compromise solution”.

Under the bill, the penal sanction for battery is invoked only if they are committed against children and other relatives, from molester motives, on political, ideological, racial, national or religious grounds.

The bill changes criminal act “Battery”, if it caused physical pain, but did not cause serious consequences and committed for the first time, into sphere of administrative legislation. Into Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation it will be added penalties for these offenses at the rate of 5 000 to 30 000 rubles, and also introduced an administrative arrest for a term of 10 to 15 days or compulsory community service for a term of 60 to 120 hours. If the offense is repeated within a year, then it goes into the criminal legislation. The maximum liability under this article is up to two years in prison.

In addition, criminal penalty for battery invokes subject to it committed in relation to close people (parents, children, spouses, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, parents or tutors, or those, who are keeping house with defaulter).

Earlier, the Patriarchal Commission for the Protection of the Family, Maternity and Childhood made an announcement, in which it expressed a “deep concern” in connection with the adoption of the new version of Article 116 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Battery”). It would prohibit loving parents use reasonable and moderate physical punishment for children in educational aims.

"If the new version of Article 116 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation comes into force, it may result a criminal prosecution of conscientious parents (amercing penalties up to two years in prison) for any, even moderate and reasonable use of physical punishment in child-rearing practices. At the same time, as follows from the text of the bill, bystanders will not bear a criminal responsibility for the same actions”, said the statement of the Russian Orthodox Church.

They are persuaded that the proposed regulation “has no moral justification and legal basis, its content is stacked against the family and adopted understanding of the rights of parents in the Russian culture, it is discriminatory, contrary to the fundamental principles of public family policy and does not take into account the traditional family and moral values ​​of the Russian society." According to the clergy, the practical application of this legal initiative “will do more harm than convenience”.

It should be pointed out that in the document, signed by President, it is stated that refusal to pay aliment is also became a part of administrative legislation. This act will be punished by compulsory community service for a term of 150 hours, arrest for 15 days and a fine in the amount of 20 000 rubles. Deliberate deviationists, who were administratively punished, will bear criminal responsibility up to one year in prison.

The Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation is emended by articles from the Criminal Code, providing the primary responsibility for minor larceny. If the amount of stolen property is less than 1 000 rubles, the penalty for this theft is assessed in the amount of at least up to five times from the value of stolen, but not less than 1 000 rubles 

It is understood that henceforth the criminal prosecution of minor larceny will invoke if the amount of it exceeds 2 500 rubles and is committed by a person, who has been previously chastised to administrative punishment. The penalty varies from a fine of 40 000 rubles to imprisonment for 1 year.

The law also provides that a person, who is committed misdemeanor or crimes of average weight, may be waived criminal responsibility by the court with the appointment of court fine, if he has indemnified or otherwise made up losses. 

In addition, number of regulations of the bill are liberalized articles of the Criminal Code (Crimes in the Sphere of Economics. In particular, article 159 (“Swindling”) is complemented by the fifth part – “Swindling, combined with the deliberate failure to contractual obligations in the field of business, if it causes the considerable damage”.

The offense prescribes punishment with a fine of up to 300 000 rubles to imprisonment for up to 5 years with custodial restraint for up to one year or without it. When it is the considerable damage, the fine runs up to 500 000 rubles, and the maximum term of imprisonment - up to 6 years. When it is the extra considerable damage, the fine runs up to 1 000 000 rubles, and a prison sentence – up to 10 years.

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