- Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023:
- BharatiyaNagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023:
- BharatiyaSakshya Bill, 2023:
- Reasons for the Overhaul and Parliamentary Process
- Formation of Criminal Law Reforms Committee
- Changes to Sedition Law
- Supreme Court’s Involvement and Orders
- Details of the New Bills
- key highlights from the bill:
- The BharatiyaNagarik Suraksha Sanhita
- Here are some of the key highlights from the bill:
Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023:
- This bill aims to replace the IPC of 1860.
- It proposes the repeal of 22 provisions, changes to 175 existing provisions, and the introduction of eight new sections.
- The bill consists of a total of 356 provisions.
- Notably, the bill introduces changes to offenses like gang rape, rape of minors, and mob lynching.
- It also omits provisions related to adultery in line with a Supreme Court ruling and addresses sexual offenses in a gender-specific manner.
- However, the provision legalizing marital rape has been retained.
BharatiyaNagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023:
- This bill seeks to replace the CrPC of 1973.
- It plans to repeal nine provisions, modify 160 provisions, and introduce nine new provisions, totaling 533 sections.
- The bill includes provisions for a free copy of the First Information Report (FIR) to be given to both the accused and the victim within fourteen days of their production.
- It also introduces the concept of a “zero FIR,” enabling registration in one police station for an offense that falls under another’s jurisdiction.
- Additionally, the bill streamlines the magisterial system and allows for electronic means for the examination of accused individuals.
BharatiyaSakshya Bill, 2023:
- This bill aims to replace the Indian Evidence Act of 1872.
- It proposes changes to 23 provisions and introduces one new provision, comprising a total of 170 sections.
- The bill focuses on addressing technological advancements by allowing electronic or digital records to be admitted as evidence.
- It expands the definition of secondary evidence to include copies made through mechanical processes, oral accounts of document contents, and more.
Reasons for the Overhaul and Parliamentary Process
- Home Minister Amit Shah stated that the existing criminal justice system had been shaped by laws introduced during British rule.
- The new bills signify a significant shift in the country’s criminal justice framework.
- The proposed bills were referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee for approval.
- The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs had recommended a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system.
Formation of Criminal Law Reforms Committee
- The Ministry of Home Affairs established a committee headed by Prof. (Dr.) Ranbir Singh, a former Vice Chancellor of the National Law University Delhi, to review the three criminal codes.
Changes to Sedition Law
- One significant change highlighted was the repeal of the offense of sedition under Section 124A of the IPC.
- However, a closer examination revealed that this provision had been re-introduced under a new name with a broader definition.
- The new provision, Section 150 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, criminalizes acts endangering India’s sovereignty, unity, and integrity through various means, including electronic communication and financial support for subversive activities.
Supreme Court’s Involvement and Orders
- The Supreme Court had intervened in matters related to sedition laws, ordering its suspension until the government reviewed it.
- The Court highlighted that the sedition law’s penal consequences were established under colonial rule.
- Consequently, both the Union and State governments were directed to refrain from registering FIRs under Section 124A IPC while the law was under reconsideration.
Details of the New Bills
The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill
- The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023 introduces significant changes to India’s criminal justice framework by seeking to replace the existing Indian Penal Code (IPC) of 1860.
- The bill aims to address various aspects of criminal offenses and punishments, as well as align the legal framework with contemporary societal values.
key highlights from the bill:
- Repealing Provisions and Introducing New Sections:
- The bill proposes to repeal 22 provisions of the IPC while introducing eight new sections.
- It also suggests modifications to 175 existing provisions, making a total of 356 provisions in the new bill.
- New Provisions and Offenses: The bill introduces several new provisions and offenses, including:
- Section 109: Addresses organized crime.
- Section 110: Addresses petty organized crime or organized crime in general.
- Section 111: Defines the offense of a terrorist act.
- Section 150: Criminalizes acts endangering the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of India.
- Section 302: Addresses the offense of snatching.
- Punishments for Gang Rape and Rape of Minors:
- The bill mandates that all types of gang rape offenses be punishable by either 20 years of imprisonment or life imprisonment.
- Additionally, the rape of a minor will be punishable by the imposition of the death penalty.
- Gender-Neutral Offenses:
- The bill takes steps towards gender neutrality in offenses, ensuring that various offenses are not gender-specific.
- Mob Lynching Offense:
- The bill introduces a provision addressing mob lynching for the first time.
- The offense, defined under Section 101, refers to a group of five or more individuals acting in concert to commit murder based on factors such as race, caste, community, sex, place of birth, language, personal belief, or other grounds.
- The members of the group are subject to severe penalties, including death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for not less than seven years, along with a fine.
- Removal of Adultery Offense:
- The bill omits the provision related to the offense of adultery.
- This change aligns with the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Joseph Shine v. Union of India in 2018, which deemed Section 497 of the IPC, criminalizing adultery, unconstitutional.
- Changes after Section 377 Ruling:
- The bill reflects the changes brought about by the Supreme Court’s unanimous reading down of Section 377 of the IPC, which criminalized consensual same-sex relations among adults.
- The bill does not include any punishment for “unnatural sexual offenses against men.”
- Marital Rape Exception Retained:
- The bill retains the provision that exempts non-consensual marital intercourse from the definition of rape, as outlined in Exception 2 to Section 63.
- This provision has been a topic of debate and is currently under challenge for its constitutional validity in the Supreme Court.
In essence, the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023, aims to modernize and align India’s criminal justice system with current societal values and legal interpretations.
The BharatiyaNagarik Suraksha Sanhita
- The BharatiyaNagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023 is poised to replace the existing Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) of 1973 with a comprehensive set of reforms aimed at enhancing citizen security.
- The bill introduces substantial changes to various aspects of criminal procedure, aiming to streamline the process, provide better access to justice, and modernize investigative practices.
Here are some of the key highlights from the bill:
- Repealing and Introducing Provisions:
- The bill plans to repeal nine provisions of the current CrPC while proposing changes to 160 provisions.
- Additionally, it introduces nine new provisions, leading to a total of 533 sections in the new bill.
- Access to FIR:
- A new formal provision (Section 230) has been introduced to ensure timely access to the First Information Report (FIR) for both the accused and the victim.
- Under this provision, a copy of the FIR must be provided to them at no cost within fourteen days from the date of production or appearance of the accused.
- Zero FIR:
- The bill introduces the concept of a “zero FIR,” allowing individuals to file an FIR in any police station across the country, regardless of the location where the alleged offense occurred.
- This means that if an offense falls under the jurisdiction of a different police station, the complainant can register the FIR in any police station, which then initiates the investigation before transferring the case to the relevant jurisdiction.
- Electronic Means for Examination:
- The bill facilitates the use of electronic means, such as video conferencing, for examining accused persons.
- This aims to expedite the process and reduce the need for physical presence during certain stages of investigation and trial.
- Summary Trials:
- The bill mandates summary trials for petty and less serious cases.
- Summary trials are faster and simplified proceedings that aim to expedite justice delivery for less severe offenses.
- Streamlined Magisterial System:
- The bill proposes to streamline the magisterial system, which involves the administration of justice through magistrates.
- This may include reforms to the appointment, functioning, and roles of magistrates to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in the judicial process.
In summary, the BharatiyaNagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023, introduces comprehensive reforms to the Code of Criminal Procedure.
- It focuses on enhancing access to justice, modernizing investigative procedures, and expediting the judicial process.
The BharatiyaSakshya Bill
- The BharatiyaSakshya Bill, 2023 represents a significant modernization and transformation of India’s legal framework concerning the admissibility of evidence.
- This bill aims to replace the existing Indian Evidence Act of 1872 and introduces changes to enhance the compatibility of legal proceedings with contemporary technological advancements.
Here are the key aspects of the bill:
- Repealing and Introducing Provisions:
- The bill plans to replace the Indian Evidence Act by proposing modifications to 23 provisions while adding one new provision.
- In total, the bill consists of 170 sections.
- Reasons for Repeal:
- The Statement of Objects and Reasons for the BharatiyaSakshya Bill highlights that the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 has become inadequate in addressing the rapid technological advancements that have taken place in the country over the past few decades.
- The bill is introduced to address these gaps and ensure the effective admissibility of evidence, including electronic and digital records.
- Admissibility of Electronic and Digital Records:
- A key feature of the bill is the recognition of electronic or digital records as admissible evidence.
- These records will hold legal validity as documentary evidence in legal proceedings.
- This recognition aligns with the advancement of technology and ensures that relevant electronic or digital records can be used to support or refute claims in court.
- Expansion of Secondary Evidence:
- The bill expands the scope of what constitutes secondary evidence.
- It includes various forms of evidence that can be used when the original primary evidence is not available.
- The expansion includes:
- Copies made from the original by mechanical processes.
- Copies made from or compared with the original.
- Counterparts of documents against parties who did not execute them.
- Oral accounts of document contents given by individuals who have personally seen the document.
- The expansion includes: