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Colonial-Era CRPC and IPC Replaced; Amit Shah Announces New Criminal Laws Under BNS Focused on Justice Over Punishment

At the stroke of the midnight hour on 15 August 1947, India attained independence.

After nearly eight decades of independent India, the colonial-era CRPC and IPC are history, and subsequently, India will be governed by new laws.

The process has been initiated, but as per Home Minister Amit Shah, the smooth functioning of the new legal regime will take three to four years.

In particular, the enactment of the ‘technical aspects’ of the three criminal laws to become fully applicable.

According to Amit Shah, any person will receive justice, even if it is from the highest court of the land, within three years from the registration of the First Information Report (FIR).

The focus of the new laws will be more on justice than on punishment.

The Home Minister has said that the three laws will be available in all the languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

Mr. Shah, when asked about Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin’s objections to the laws, clarified that neither the Chief Minister nor the members of parliament have demanded a discussion about their opposition to the names of the laws.

Mr. Shah also gave several clarifications regarding the myths being propagated about the new laws: The Police Remand has not been extended beyond 15 days and not up to 60 days.

A common ploy employed by criminals is to get admitted to a hospital for 15 days; then there was no interrogation as his remand period used to expire. This will not be possible under new laws because the remand can be obtained after discharge from the hospital.

The first case under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) was registered on Monday against a street vendor in Delhi but was later struck down.

As regards the absence of penal provisions for sexual crimes against men and transgender individuals, Mr. Shah said that there is a Supreme Court judgment on this; it is a matter of interpretation.

Another bright spot in the new provisions of the law is the fixing of responsibility for those who record videos and upload the data. This, according to Mr. Shah, will ensure a ‘leak-proof’ system to store data.

The Bhartiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) makes it compulsory to ensure compulsory audio-video recording of search and seizure in each criminal case. It also makes forensic examination mandatory in all cases where an offense attracts a punishment of seven years or more. The recordings would have to be placed before the court electronically ‘without delay.’

Mr. Shah also highlighted terror-related laws which have been made more stringent. Often conspiracies of terror incidents are hatched in neighboring countries, and this makes it very difficult to prosecute such terrorists who often make use of this loophole to get acquitted. Mr. Shah, in a press conference, gave the example of a serial blast case in Ahmedabad where all the accused, who were hardcore SIMI members, were acquitted because the law had not clearly defined a terror action.

Mr. Shah also said that extensive discussions were held before the new laws were enacted. Sections that were instituted during the British times to suit colonial needs have been removed. Crime on sedition, made by the British, had been abolished in the new laws and a new law has been enacted which provides severe punishment for those who damage the unity and integrity of India. 99.99% of police stations across the country had been computerized, and the process of generating e-records was already started in 2019. The FIR will now be in a computerized format.

Other important aspects of the new laws include:

Checks are in place to prevent the misuse of provisions related to arrest by the police. The State Government will have to designate a police officer who will be tasked with maintaining information about arrests and who arrested them. The information will have to be displayed prominently at all police stations.

Electronic First Information Reports (e-FIRs) to fast-track the reporting of crime against women. It also enables a discreet way for survivors to report offenses. This will significantly reduce societal pressure which leads to underreporting of crime against women.

The period of detention is reduced for first-time offenders under certain circumstances, and he will be released on bail if the person has undergone a third of the maximum sentence prescribed.

Extensive use of technology from crime scene visits to investigation to trial will help the speedy conclusion of trials and also ensure more transparency. Mandatory inclusion of audio-video recording in search and seizure proceedings will negate any possibility of manipulation of evidence.

Victims will also get a complimentary copy of the FIR, guaranteeing their involvement in the legal proceedings.

Offenses against women and children will need to be investigated on top priority and must be completed within two months of the initial report. Victims will also get regular updates on their case’s progress every 90 days.

Crimes against women and children victims are entitled to receive free first-aid or medical treatment at all hospitals.

Summons to be delivered electronically,

In crimes against women, a female magistrate will record the victim’s statements. In the absence of a female magistrate, a male magistrate must do so in the presence of a woman.

As compared to the 511 sections of the IPC, the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita has 358 sections.

20 new crimes have been added and imprisonment sentences have been increased for 33 crimes.

The amount of fines has been increased in 83 crimes.

Mandatory minimum punishment has been introduced for 23 crimes.

The penalty of community service has been introduced in six crimes.

19 sections have been struck down.

Death Penalty or life imprisonment related to the rape of women below 18 years of age.

All cases of gang rape can invite 20 years imprisonment or life imprisonment if the female victim is under 18 years of age.

Also Read: Breaking: Over 27 Dead in Stampede at Religious Event in UP’s Hathras

Manoj Nair

Manoj Nair: With a decade of news writing across various media platforms, Manoj is a seasoned professional. His dual role as an English teacher underscores his command over communication. He adeptly covers Politics, Technology, Crypto, and more, reflecting a broad and insightful perspective that engages and informs diverse audiences.

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