Monday 12 February 2024

Important highlights of new IPC new CRPC and new Evidence act as enacted in 2023

 The Indian Parliament passed three significant bills in 2023 to replace the existing criminal laws, namely the Indian Penal Code (IPC) of 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) of 1898, and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872. The new laws are the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha  Sanhita, and the Bharatiya Sakshya  Sanhita, which will replace the old criminal laws. Some of the key highlights and changes introduced by these new laws are as follows:

Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita (New IPC)

  • The new law eliminates the sedition law and introduces a new form of sedition as subversive activities.
  • It prescribes penalties for disseminating false information through various means.
  • It expands the grounds for murder, penalizing individuals acting together based on race, caste, sex, or place of birth.
  • It identifies snatching as an offense and specifies its penalty.
  • It introduces the death penalty for crimes against girls below 18 years of age.

Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (New CrPC)

  • It requires forensic investigation for crimes punishable with 7 years' imprisonment or more.
  • It permits electronic mode for all trials and inquiries.
  • It extends the power of attachment of property to immovable properties as well.

Bharatiya Sakshya Sanhita (New Evidence Act)

  • It recognizes electronic records as primary evidence.
  • It allows electronic presentation of oral evidence, enabling remote testimony.
  • It expands the concept of joint trial and the list of secondary documents.
The new laws also emphasize the use of technology, such as mandatory video recording of search and seizure procedures, and aim to place the citizen at the center of the criminal justice system. The legislation's focus is on justice and reformation, and it aims to make the criminal justice system more efficient and aligned with contemporary needs and values. The new laws have been designed to replace the colonial-era criminal laws and to bring India's legal, policing, and investigative systems into the modern era, with a focus on technology and forensic science.

What are criticism against New laws:
  Some of the specific concerns include:
  1. Admissibility of Evidence: There are concerns about the potential introduction of "inadmissible and inferior quality of evidence" under the new laws, which could impact the judicial process
  2. Surveillance and Privacy: Critics have raised concerns about the potential impact of the new laws on civil liberties and privacy, particularly in relation to the use of surveillance and the admissibility of evidence

Governments Response to Criticism against the new legislation

The government's response to the concerns raised by the Indian judiciary regarding the new laws has been articulated by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who introduced the revised Bills in the Lok Sabha. He emphasized that the new legislation will form the base of making the country’s justice system the most modern in the world. He stated that the new laws have tried to accommodate the changes in technology in the process of administration and policing. Additionally, he highlighted that the new laws have ended the provisions of sedition, and no one will be punished for criticizing the government. However, he also emphasized that criticizing the country or tampering with its sovereignty and unity will be met with stringent punishment. Furthermore, he assured that the new laws will ensure that a victim will get justice within three years of the passage of these laws, and the practice of date after date in the courts will end. He also mentioned that the new laws have provisions for community service that will lead to the reformation of criminals. The government's position is that the new laws are a significant step towards modernizing the country's justice system and ensuring timely justice for the victims
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