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Biggest Reforms in Criminal Laws: A Game Changer

India that is Bharat has broken the shackles of colonialism. A date (21 dec 2023) immortalized in India's Democratic Journey. India's Criminal justice system witnesses biggest reform, as parliament of India passes three key bills. Prime minister Narendra Modi lots the passage of Bhartiya Nagarik Suraksha sahinta,2023, Bhartiya Nyaya sahinta,2023 and Bhartiya sakshya adhiniyam,2023 by Parliament and calls it historic moment in India's history.

He underlines that these bills ensure enhanced protection for poor, marginalized and vulnerable sections of the society while also coming down heavily on organized crime terrorism and other such offenses. Changes have been made in the three laws governing nearly 150 years old Criminal Justice System Indianness Indian constitution and people of India.

India's criminal justice system is set for a complete overhaul parliament of India has passed three key bills to replace colonial era codes with the objective of speeding up trials by laying down: specific timelines, boosting rates of conviction by improving the quality of evidence and providing relief and protection to victims. In the old laws, instead of giving priority to homicide and misbehavior with women priority was given to the protection of Treasury, protection of railways and the safety of the British crown. A new era begins with the laws centered on public service and Welfare.

So, what are the key provisions of these pathbreaking legislations, how will they impact you.

India's criminal justice system has been predominantly shaped by laws and regulations inherited from the British colonial era in the post:Independence years these legal foundations underwent alterations and Amendments to align with the evolving requirements of modern times. The experience of seven decades of Indian democracy calls for comprehensive review of our criminal laws including the code of criminal procedure and adopt them in accordance with the Contemporary needs and aspirations of the people of India.

The pre:independence criminal laws were used by the British to protect their colonial interests to rule the people and the country and to maintain their Authority and Supremacy over India. There was a need for comprehensive review of the criminal laws especially the Indian penal Court criminal procedure court and The Indian Evidence Act and adapt them according to the present day needs and aspirations. In 2019, prime minister of India advocated for the need to revamp all the legislations enacted across all departments during the British era.

In accordance with the basic principles enshrined in the constitution of India it was proposed to bring about fundamental comprehensive changes in the framework of Indian criminal laws, with this objective the existing Indian Penal Code 1860, the code of criminal procedure 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 is now repealed and replaced by BNS 2023, BNSS 2023 and the BS Bill 2023 respectively.

The main problems in present legal system are complex in nature there's huge pendency of cases in the courts. there is low conviction rate and the amount of fine prescribed in the laws is very less from 10 Rupees to 500 rupees. there's also overcrowding of undertrial prisoners in prisons. there's very little use of modern technology in the legal system. there's also delay in investigation and delayed Justice due to inadequate use of forensic evidence.

These new bills seek to holistically address the problems in the criminal justice system to strengthen Law and Order simplifying legal procedure providing Speedy Justice and to adapt the criminal justice system with the technological advancements, further all the outdated references have been deleted in these bills.

All the provisions have been made in the laws to equip our judicial system by imagining the possible technological innovations that may take place in the coming 100 years, a good balance has been maintained between the rights of the people and the citizens Provisions have been made in these laws to increase the rate of punishment and to prevent cybercrimes. To reduce the burden on jails community service is also being included as a punishment for the first time and is being given legal status.

Priority has been given to crimes related to humans like rape, gang rape, crime against children, murder, kidnapping and trafficking. The government has also taken a historic decision and completely removed the section of sedition. Sedition has been replaced with treason, home minister has said that no one can speak against India and no one can harm its interests. He has also said that if any one place with the flag borders and resources of India he or she will definitely have to go to jail because the government's trust is that the security of the country comes first.

A total of 3200 suggestions were received regarding these laws and the home minister himself held 158 meetings to consider these three laws. On August 11, 2023 these bills were sent to the standing committee of parliament on home Affairs.

This is 75th year of our independence now the sent features the BH n Sita number of sections have been reduced from 511 to 356 and the chapters from 23 to 90 this is regarding bti Nita that is old Indian Penal Code we have used the word n not a dund not a penal because this is a democracy, we are giving Justice not dund not a penalty 24 sections have been deleted from old Indian penal Court 22 have been added and a large number of sections have been rearranged.

Parliament also saw rich debate on these key bills as members made meaningful submissions. yeah, the bill also looks at rash suras for the first time we have a general statute which defines terrorism and makes it punishable.

The law Commission of India in its various reports recommended several amendments in the criminal laws. Let's take a look at the key provisions of these three bills.
The BNS 2023 repeals the Indian penal code. key changes proposed in the bill include: IPC defines sedition as bringing or attempting to bring hatred or contempt or exciting disaffection towards the government... it is punishable with imprisonment term between 3 years and life imprisonment and or fine.

The bill removes this offense. It instead penalizes (i) exciting or attempting to excite secession, armed Rebellion or subversive activities, encouraging feelings of sapst activities or endangering sovereignty or unity and integrity of India these offenses may involve exchange of words or signs electronic communication or use of financial means.

Here's your provided text with HTML code bullets added for better readability:

  • Terrorism:
    The bill defines terrorism as an act that intends to threaten the unity integrity and security of the country to intimidate the general public or disturb public order. The bill also penalizes conspiring, organizing or assisting in preparation of any terrorist act with an imprisonment term between 5 years and life imprisonment and a fine of at least 5 lakh rupees.
  • Petty Organised Crime:
    The bill makes attempting or committing Petty organized crime punishable with imprisonment between 1 and 7 years and a fine.
  • Death Penalty for Gangrape of Minor:
    IPC allows death penalty for gang rape of women below 12 years of age, the bill now allows death penalty for gang rape of women below 18 years of age.
The BNSS 2023 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 11th of August 2023. It repeals the Court of Criminal procedure 1973. The Code provides for the procedure of arrest, prosecution and bail for offenses under various Acts including the Indian penal Court 1860. The key Provisions now include:
  • Trials in Electronic Mode:
    The bill provides that all trials, inquiries and proceedings may be held in electronic mode. It also provides for the production of electronic communication devices, likely to contain digital evidence, for investigation inquiry or trial. Electronic communication includes communication through devices such as mobiles computers or telephone.
  • Forensic Investigation:
    The bill mandates forensic investigation for offenses punishable with at least 7 years of imprisonment.
  • Timelines for Procedures:
    The bill prescribes timelines for various procedures. For instance, it requires medical practitioners who examine great victims to submit their reports to the investigating officer within 7 days.
  • Trial in Absence of Offender:
    The bill provides for conduct of trial and pronouncement of judgment in the absence of a proclaimed offender. This shall be done when such a person has absconded to evade trial and there is no immediate Prospect of arresting him.
The BSA 2023 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 11th of August 2023. It repeals the Indian Evidence Act of 1872. The ACT provides rules for admissibility of evidence in legal proceedings.
  • Admissibility of Electronic or Digital Records as Evidence:
    The bill provides that electronic or digital records will have the same legal effect as paper records. It expands electronic records to include information stored in semiconductor memory or any communication device.
  • Oral Evidence:
    Under the ACT oral evidence includes statements made before courts by witnesses in relation to a fact under inquiry. The bill adds any information given electronically to be considered as oral evidence.
  • Secondary Evidence:
    The bill expands secondary evidence to include (i) oral and written Admissions, and (ii) the testimony of a person who has examined the document and is skilled in the examination of documents.
These proposed legislations being brought in place of three old laws have been made on the basis of three basic Spirit of our constitution (i) freedom of the individual (ii)human rights and (iii) the principle of equal treatment to all. The purpose of giving punishment is to give Justice to the victim and to set in an example in the society, so that no one else commits such a mistake. These three new laws are being humanized for the first time after so many years of Independence.

These transformative builds are a testament to India's commitment to reform. They bring our legal policing and investigative systems into the modern era with a focus on technology and forensic science these bills ensure enhanced protection for the poor margined and vulnerable sections of our society.

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Himanshu Jakhmola
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: MR408929117735-29-0324

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