New criminal laws come into force, first case registered

The Delhi Police has implemented three new criminal laws replacing colonial-era statutes, aiming to modernise India's criminal justice system with a focus on crimes against women, children, and national security.
New criminal laws come into force, first case registered
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

Three new criminal laws -- Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam -- came into effect across the country on Monday. These laws will replace the colonial-era Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act, respectively.

A first FIR (First Information Report), under the new criminal laws, was registered on Monday at Delhi's Kamla Market Police Station, against a street vendor.

The case was registered under Section 285 of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, on charges of obstructing a footover bridge at the New Delhi Railway Station.

Ahead of the laws coming into force, posters educating people about the new laws were put up at various places, particularly police stations, across the national capital.

Some of the posters, giving out information about the new laws, were seen at the police stations of Connaught Place, Tughlak Road, Tughlaqabad, and many more.

The posters were incorporated with information about laws and what changes they will bring.

The new criminal laws would bring widespread changes in India's criminal justice system and end colonial-era laws.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam will replace the British-era Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act, respectively.

BHARATIYA NYAYA SANHITA

Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita has 358 sections (as against 511 sections of the IPC). A total of 20 new crimes have been added to the Sanhita, and the imprisonment sentence has been increased for 33 crimes.

The amount of fine has been increased in 83 crimes and mandatory minimum punishment has been introduced in 23 crimes.

The penalty of community service has been introduced in six crimes and 19 sections have been repealed or removed in the Act.

Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita has introduced a new chapter titled 'Crimes against Women and Children' to deal with sexual crimes, and Sanhita is proposing changes in the provisions related to the rape of women below 18 years of age.

Provisions related to the gang rape of a minor woman are consistent with the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso). A provision for life imprisonment or death penalty in the case of girls below 18 years of age has also been made.

There is the provision of 20 years imprisonment or life imprisonment in all cases of gang rape and the new crime category of gang rape of a woman under 18 years of age in the Sanhita.

The Sanhita provides targeted penalties for persons fraudulently engaging in sexual intercourse or promising to marry without the true intention to marry.

Terrorism has been defined for the first time in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, and it has been made a punishable offence.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Section 113. (1), mentions that "whoever, with intent to endanger or is likely to endanger the unity, integrity, sovereignty, security or economic security or sovereignty of India or to cause or spread terror amongst the public or any section of the public in India or in any foreign country, commits any act using bombs, dynamite, explosive substances, poisonous gases, nuclear with intent to cause death to any person or persons, damage to property, or manufacture or smuggling of currency or so, he commits terrorist acts".

In the Sanhita, terrorist acts are punishable with the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole.

A range of terrorist offences have also been introduced in the Sanhita, and it is pointed out that destroying public facilities or private property is a crime.

Acts that cause 'widespread loss by reason of damage or destruction of critical infrastructure' are also covered under this section.

The practice of filing zero FIR has been institutionalised, and the FIR can be lodged anywhere, irrespective of the area in which the crime took place.

Victim's right to information has been ensured in these laws, including the right of the victim to get a copy of the FIR free of cost.

There is also a provision to inform the victim about the progress of the investigation within 90 days.

BHARATIYA NAGRIK SURAKSHA SANHITA

Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita has 531 sections (as against 484 sections of CrPC).

A total of 177 provisions have been changed in the Sanhita and nine new sections as well as 39 new sub-sections have been added to it.

The Act has added 44 new provisions and clarifications. Timelines have been added to 35 sections and audio-video provision has been added at 35 places.

A total of 14 sections have been repealed and removed in the Sanhita.

BHARATIYA SAKSHYA ADHINIYAM

Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam will have 170 provisions (as against the original 167 provisions), and a total of 24 provisions have been changed.

Two new provisions and six sub-provisions have been added, and six provisions have been repealed or deleted in the Adhiniyam.

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New criminal laws come into force, first case registered

The recent criminal justice reform in India marks a significant shift in priorities, placing crimes against women, children, and the nation at the forefront.

Source: India Today

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