End Of 150-Year-Old IPC. India Gears Up For The New Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita

End Of 150-Year-Old IPC.  India Gears Up For The New Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita
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End Of 150-Year-Old IPC.  India Gears Up For The New Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita

Three new criminal laws came into effect on Monday (July 1), in order to modernize the legal framework by addressing contemporary issues, in light of technological advancements and emergence of new crimes, and replaced the existing colonial criminal codes.

The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 (BNSS) will replace the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC); the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) will replace the Indian Penal Code; and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam will replace the Indian Evidence Act.

The Indian Penal Code (IPC), a comprehensive criminal code established in 1860, has long been the cornerstone of India's criminal justice system. Crafted during the British colonial era by Thomas Babington Macaulay, the IPC laid a robust framework for defining crimes and prescribing punishments. The IPC, CrPC and Evidence Act, will continue to operate for offenses committed before July 1, whereas the new laws will apply for the crimes committed after that.

Some Notable Developments In The BNS

Here are some notable developments in the BNS-

  1. The BNS has 358 sections, compared to the extensive 511 in the IPC.           
  2. For minor offenses like petty theft, community service can be a punishment instead of jail time.                                                                                             
  3. Mob-Lynching or Extra-judicial killing by a group is now punishable with the death penalty.                                                                                                        
  4. Videography of crime scenes mandatory for all heinous crimes.                         
  5. Judgments are now required within 45 days of completion of trial and charges framed within 60 days of the first hearing.                                             
  6. Online registration (FIR) of police complaints and electronic serving of summonses are permitted.                                                                                     
  7. Any person can now file a Zero First Information Report (FIR) at any police station, regardless of jurisdiction.                                                                        
  8. The definition of theft now includes data theft and identity theft.                          
  9. The period for pre-trial detention has been increased from 15 to 90 days.          
  10. Section 420, which defined cheating, led to the number ‘420’ becoming a significant part of Indian pop culture, is now listed as Section 318 in the BNS.

The government is championing the new laws, as the harbinger of a new legal order that is intrinsically Indian and robustly modern, in the face of the archaic IPC. On the other hand, the opposition leaders have raised objection and written to the home minister, to defer the implementation of these laws, stating that they have been hurriedly rolled out, without consultation of the opposition leaders. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have also raised objection to the Hindi names of the laws, citing Article 348 of the Constitution which states that legislations introduced in Parliament must be in English.

Disha hopes that the new laws prove to be effective in carrying out criminal proceedings more efficiently than before!

 

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