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New Criminal Laws Replacing Penal Code Effective July 1

February 24, 2024 : India will witness the implementation of three new criminal laws, marking the replacement of archaic colonial-era legislations, as announced by the government on Saturday.

The three legislations, namely Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita, and the Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill, will supersede the Indian Penal Code of 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) of 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872.

These laws received parliamentary approval last December, followed by the assent of President Droupadi Murmu.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah emphasized the focus of these laws on Indianness, adherence to the Indian Constitution, and the welfare of the citizens during their introduction in the Parliament. Notably, the laws prioritize the utilization of technology and place greater importance on forensic science in various aspects such as investigation, prosecution, and the judicial system.

Shah articulated a vision where the Indian criminal justice system would emerge as the most advanced globally within five years of implementing these laws comprehensively.

The Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita, intended to replace the IPC, introduces substantial reforms considering contemporary needs. These include the adoption of ‘community service’ as punishment for minor offenses like theft and the recognition of transgenders within the gender definition.

The Nyay Sanhita incorporates 20 new offenses, addressing contemporary challenges such as organized crime, terrorist activities, mob lynching, hit-and-run incidents, sexual exploitation of women through deceit, snatching, abetment beyond Indian territories, acts endangering the sovereignty, integrity, and unity of India, and dissemination of false or fake news.

The new laws broaden the understanding of terrorism and introduce provisions for capital punishment in cases of mob lynching and rape of minors. Furthermore, certain acts previously considered criminal, including adultery, homosexual relations, and suicide attempts, are no longer deemed offenses under these laws.

The abolition of the sedition law is notable, replaced by a new section targeting acts that pose threats to India’s sovereignty, unity, and integrity.

In conclusion, the imminent enforcement of these new criminal laws marks a significant step towards modernizing India’s legal framework, aligning it with contemporary needs and global standards.

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