New Criminal Laws To Overhaul India’s Criminal Justice System

The inclusion of electronic and digital records in the definition of a document is another notable change. Furthermore, the definition of "movable" will be expanded to include property of every description.

New Criminal Laws To Overhaul India's Criminal Justice System - SurgeZirc India
New Criminal Laws To Overhaul India's Criminal Justice System.

The Indian government has announced that three new criminal laws will come into effect from July 1, replacing the colonial-era codes that have been in place for decades.

These new laws, namely Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, aim to completely overhaul the country’s criminal justice system.

The Union Home Ministry has issued identical notifications stating that the provisions of these new laws will be implemented from July 1. The Bharatiya Sakshya Sanhita, 2023, The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023, and The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 were passed by Parliament on December 21, 2022.

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They received assent from President Droupadi Murmu on December 25, 2022, and will replace the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

One of the main objectives of these new laws is to make punishments more stringent for offenses related to terrorism, lynching, and those endangering national security. The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita introduces 20 new offenses, while eliminating 19 provisions from the IPC.

The punishment for imprisonment has been increased in 33 offenses, and the fine has been enhanced in 83 provisions. Additionally, mandatory minimum punishment has been introduced in 23 offenses, and “community service” has been included as a form of punishment in six offenses.

Several significant changes have been proposed in these new criminal laws. The definition of a child will be introduced, and transgender individuals will be included in the definition of “gender.”

The inclusion of electronic and digital records in the definition of a document is another notable change. Furthermore, the definition of “movable” will be expanded to include property of every description.

During the presentation of these criminal bills in the Rajya Sabha, Union Home Minister Amit Shah emphasized that once implemented, these laws will put an end to the prolonged delays in the justice system and ensure that justice is delivered within three years.

This move aims to address the long-standing issue of cases being adjourned repeatedly, leading to the popular phrase “tareekh-pe-tareekh” (date of the next hearing).

The introduction of these new criminal laws marks a significant step towards modernizing India’s legal framework and ensuring a more efficient and effective criminal justice system.

By replacing the outdated colonial-era codes, the government aims to address the evolving challenges of the present time and provide a more robust legal framework to protect the rights of citizens and maintain national security.

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