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New Criminal Laws To Take Effect From July 1, Replacing Colonial-Era Codes

India replaces colonial-era criminal laws with Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam effective July 1. Stricter penalties for terrorism, lynching, and national security threats. Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita introduces 20 new offenses and elevates punishment for 33 offenses. Key amendments redefine 'child' and 'gender,' expand document definitions, and introduce community service as a punishment. Aim to expedite justice and end delays in legal proceedings.

Edited By : Aniket Raj | Updated: Feb 24, 2024 16:28 IST
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Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita
Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita

The government has announced the implementation of three new criminal laws to replace the outdated Indian Penal Code (IPC), Indian Evidence Act, and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) inherited from British colonial rule. These new laws, namely Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, are set to revolutionize India’s criminal justice system and will be effective from July 1.

As per three identical notifications issued by the Union Home Ministry, the provisions of the new laws are scheduled to take effect 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 of the previous year.

These laws were officially enacted after receiving assent from President Droupadi Murmu on December 25 of the same year. They are set to replace the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, and the IPC.

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According to experts, the three new laws are expected to impose stricter punishments for offenses related to terrorism, lynching, and activities posing threats to national security.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita includes 20 new offenses while removing 19 provisions previously found in the IPC. Additionally, the punishment of imprisonment has been heightened in 33 offenses under this law.

The new criminal laws entail significant amendments, including enhancements in fines for 83 provisions, the introduction of mandatory minimum punishments in 23 offenses, and the inclusion of ‘community service’ as a punishment in six offenses.

Key changes proposed in these laws involve defining a child, expanding the definition of ‘gender’ to include transgender individuals, incorporating electronic and digital records within the definition of a document, and broadening the definition of ‘movable’ to encompass property of all kinds.

During the presentation of the criminal bills in Rajya Sabha, Union Home Minister Amit Shah emphasized that once these laws are enforced, they will put an end to the prolonged delays associated with the legal system, symbolized by the phrase ‘tareekh-pe-tareekh’ (date of the next hearing), and ensure timely justice delivery within a maximum timeframe of three years.

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First published on: Feb 24, 2024 04:28 PM IST

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