Updated December 23rd, 2023 at 16:44 IST

New Criminal Law Bills: 10 Things That Change As India Moves To End Colonial Era

"The 3 bills to replace the colonial-era criminal laws seek to bring comprehensive changes to the criminal justice system", said Shah.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Amit Shah tables criminal law bills | Image:ANI
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New criminal law bills: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday unanimously passed significant criminal law bills - the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita Bill and the Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill, through a voice vote. While discussing the bills in the lower House, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said, "The three bills to replace the colonial-era criminal laws seek to bring comprehensive changes to the criminal justice system with a human-centric approach and a focus on imparting justice instead of imposing penalties." 

"For the poor, the biggest challenge to get justice is the financial challenge...For years 'tareekh pe tareekh' keep going. Police hold the judicial system responsible. The government holds the police and judiciary responsible. The police and judiciary hold the government responsible for the delay. Now, we have made many things clear in the new laws..." 

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Let's take a look at 10 things that change as India moves to end the colonial era

  1. New sections added: The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which originally comprised 484 sections, has undergone a substantial overhaul resulting in an expanded framework now encompassing 531 sections.
  2. Sections revised: Sections pertaining to sexual offenses has been redefined, with the offense of rape now codified under Sections 66 and 69. Previously, rape was addressed under Section 376. This change reflects a comprehensive reevaluation and restructuring of relevant legal provisions to address issues surrounding sexual violence in a more nuanced and contemporary manner. Similarly, the offense of murder, which was previously governed by Section 302 in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), has undergone a transformative amendment. It is now encapsulated within Section 101 of the newly introduced Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita. 
  3. Death penalty for hate crime: In this law, the government has made a provision for the death penalty for mob lynching, and hate crimes murder.
  4. Sedition law repealed: Sedition law is completely abolished/replaced by Section 150 for acts endangering the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India. The provision of life imprisonment is to be changed to imprisonment for 3 to 7 years.
  5. Death penalty for raping minor: Death penalty for raping a girl under 18 years of age. Punishment is also defined as revealing the victim's identity.
  6.  20 years to life imprisonment for rape: Provision of 20 years to life imprisonment in case of rape above 18 years.
  7. A harsher punishment has been made for acts of terrorism. A compulsory copy of the investigation report to the victim and accused. Police accountability will be fixed.
  8. Hit and run cases: If an individual accidentally runs over someone with a car, and promptly takes the victim to the hospital, the driver may face a milder punishment. Conversely, the legal ramifications for hit-and-run incidents have been intensified. In such cases, where the driver fails to remain at the scene or provide immediate assistance, a more severe punishment will be imposed
  9. Community Service is to be introduced in criminal laws for the first time for petty crimes. 
  10. Organised crime has been defined for the first time, and incidents like cybercrime, economic crime, arms smuggling, robbery, and human trafficking have been included in it.

Last week, three meticulously redrafted bills were introduced in the Lok Sabha. These bills are set to replace the archaic legal frameworks of the Indian Penal Code-1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure Act-1898, and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, respectively. The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita Bill aims to bring about reforms in the realm of civic security, addressing contemporary challenges and ensuring the safety of Indian citizens. Simultaneously, the Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill focuses on overhauling the provisions related to evidence, adapting them to contemporary legal standards and practices. 

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Published December 20th, 2023 at 18:08 IST