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India: New Criminal Laws, Replacing Colonial-Era Codes, to Come into Effect from July 1

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on February 26, 2024, 15:42:55


India, new law, legal, criminal procedure, Indian Penal Code, British era


The three new criminal laws which replace the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act will come into effect from July 1, according to a government notification.

The three new criminal laws are the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshaya Act. The new laws aim at a complete overhaul of the British-era laws giving a clear definition of terrorism, abolishing sedition as a crime and introducing a new section titled "offences against the state" -- among many other changes.

These three bills were first introduced during the Monsoon session of Parliament in August 2023. After the Standing Committee on Home Affairs made several recommendations, the redrafted versions were introduced in the winter session. India’s home minister Amit Shah said the bills were drafted after wide consultations and he himself had gone through every comma and full stop of the draft.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023

This replaces the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Sedition has been deleted but another provision penalising secessionism, separatism, rebellion and acts against the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India has been introduced.

Death penalty for gang rape of minors and mob lynching. Community services have been introduced as one of the punishments for the first time.

The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023

This replaces the CrPC, 1973.

Time-bound investigation, trial and judgment within 30 days of the completion of arguments.

Video recording of the statement of sexual assault victims made mandatory. A new provision for attachment of property and proceeds of crime has been introduced.

Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023

This replaced the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

Evidence produced and admissible in courts will include electronic or digital records, emails, server logs, computers, smartphones, laptops, SMS, websites, locational evidence, mails, messages on devices.

Digitisation of all records including case diary, FIR, chargesheet and judgment. Electronic or digital records shall have the same legal effect, validity and enforceability as paper records.

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