Wednesday, June 26, 2024
HomeNews ReportsAs Modi government is revamping criminal justice system by replacing British-era laws, read the...

As Modi government is revamping criminal justice system by replacing British-era laws, read the major provisions of the 3 bills introduced in parliament

he Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 and the Evidence Act, 1872 are being repealed by Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023, and The Bharatiya Sakshya Bill 2023 respectively.

In a major step in revamping the criminal justice system of India, Home Minister Amit Shah today introduced 3 new bills in the parliament to replace 3 British-era laws. The Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 and the Evidence Act, 1872 are being repealed, which will be replaced by three new laws named Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023, and The Bharatiya Sakshya Bill 2023 respectively.

He said that the bills have been prepared after comprehensive discussions and studies, and the task was started in 2019. Suggestions were taken from all High Courts, Law universities, chief ministers, governors, MPs, MLAs etc. Several reports from several parliamentary committees were compiled while drafting the bills in a process that took 4 years.

Amit Shah said that the existing laws were passed by the British parliament in the UK. The existing laws still carry several terms relating to colonial legacies, like the UK Parliament, the provincial act, notification by the crown’s representative, London gazette, jury and barrister, Lahore government, commonwealth proposals, British crown etc.

The minister said that in as many as 475 places, there were references to the British Raj, which will no longer be there in the new laws.

Significant changes have been made in the bills, with laws related to the colonial rule and outdated laws being repealed, and new laws being introduced. The IPC has 511 sections, while its replacement Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita will have 356 sections. 175 sections have undergone changes, 8 new sections have been added and 22 sections have been repealed.

Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita will have 533 sections, 160 sections in it have been changed, 9 new sections have been added and 9 sections have been repealed. Bharatiya Sakshya Bill will have 170 sections against 166 in the existing evidence act, 23 sections have been changed, 1 new section has been added and 5 sections have been repealed.

Amit Shah said that the old laws were meant to punish, not to do justice, and the new laws will ensure that the rights granted to Indian citizens by the constitution are protected. He said that punishments will be applicable only in those cases where there is the need to create a sense of stopping crimes. From 1860, India’s criminal justice system was run by laws and rules formulated by the British, but from now on, Indian-made laws will replace them, Amit Shah said.

The home minister said that the basic approach of the criminal laws is being changed, where crimes like sedition, loot of state funds etc came before crimes against women. In the new law, crimes against women, children, and crimes against human bodies including murder will come first. The focus of the law will shift to the citizens from the rulers, the home minister said.

While talking about laws against crime against women, the home minister said that establishing sexual relations by hiding one’s identity will be made a criminal offence, which can be seen as a major step in a crackdown against love jihad.

Gang rape will invite 20 years in jail or life imprisonment, while the rape of minors will be punishable with the death penalty.

The new law will also repeal the offence of sedition, while new offences of terrorist acts, and organised crime have been added. Secession, armed rebellion, subversive activities, separatist activities, or endangering the sovereignty and unity of India are some of the offences listed in the new law. Significantly, there is a one-year imprisonment for bribing voters during elections.

There will be new provisions related to mob lynching, incidents of which have seen a rise, which will be punishable with 7 years or life imprisonment or the death penalty.

Snatching is also defined as a new offence, as at present it is not defined as a specific crime. It does not fall under theft, and often snatchers are able to escape prosecution using loopholes in the law.

Specific timelines have been prescribed for time-bound investigation, trial and pronouncement of judgements. Charge sheet to be mandatorily filed within 90 days of FIR, which can be extended by maximum 90 days by the court. Police will have to conclude the probe and file a charge sheet within maximum 180 days, which will increase the speed of justice significantly.

The courts will have to frame charges in 60 days of receiving the charge sheet. Judgment will have to be mandatorily delivered within 30 days after the conclusion of the hearing, and the same must be made available online within 7 days.

Minor crimes attracting 3 years or less in jail term will be disposed of in summary trials, which will result in 40% of the cases moving out of the sessions courts and will be concluded by the lower courts.

Moreover, the police will have to inform the status of a complaint to the complainant in 90 days, after every 15 days after that.

No case punishable with 7 years or more shall be withdrawn without providing an opportunity for hearing to the victim of the crime. There will also be provision of protection for complainants and witnesses.

The new laws will make formal provision of ‘Zero FIR’, which will enable to citizens to file an FIR at any police station, regardless of jurisdiction. The Zero FIR will have to be sent to the concerned police station within 15 days. The provision of E-FIR is also being added.

In case of arrest of persons, the police station must inform the family immediately. Community service as a punishment will also be added to the law. Although at present courts grant community service as punishment in some cases, it is not listed in the law.

While prosecuting civil servants in criminal cases, if no sanction is received from authorities within 120 days, it will be considered as the sanction received.

The complete process from registering FIR to case diary to charge sheet and judgement will be digitised. Along with that, the complete trial included cross-examinations could be done via video conferencing. While recording statements of victims of sexual crimes, video recording will be mandatory.

The definition of documents under criminal laws has been expanded to include all kinds of electronic and digital devices and data, including emails, SMS, device data etc. Video recording during search and seizure procedures will be made mandatory.

The new laws will increase the use of forensic science in investigating crimes in a massive scale, so that rate of conviction can be increased. Amit Shah said that after 3 years, every year 33,000 new forensic science experts will join the workforce.

Visit of a forensic team will be mandatory in probe of any crime involving jail term of 7 years or more. This has been successfully implemented in Delhi using mobile FSL teams, and the same will be implemented in the entire country.

Under existing laws, the investigating officer in a case have to appear in the court even if that officer is posted elsewhere or retired. Under the new law, the current officer in the same position will attend courts in the old cases by referring to case files. The existing rule causes a significant delay in trial, as the officers who are posted elsewhere, often in higher positions, can’t attend court on designated dates for various reasons.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Raju Das
Raju Das
Corporate Dropout, Freelance Translator

Related Articles

Trending now

Recently Popular

- Advertisement -