New Criminal Law Bill 2023 New Criminal Law Bill 2023

New Criminal Law Bill 2023-

Union Home Minister Amit Shah introduced revised bills in the Lok Sabha on December 12 to overhaul India’s outdated British-era criminal laws. These bills aim to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC) of 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) of 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872.

Background and Parliamentary Review New Criminal Law Bill 2023

Initially introduced in August, the bills underwent rigorous scrutiny by a 31-member Parliamentary Standing Committee chaired by BJP MP Brij Lal. Following consultations with experts and stakeholders, the committee submitted its report on November 7, recommending over 50 changes. Opposition MPs raised concerns about the lack of diversity in expert consultations and criticized what they perceived as rushed legislation, labeling the bills as mostly replicating existing laws.

 New Criminal Law Bill 2023
New Criminal Law Bill 2023

Key Amendments in the Revised Bills

Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita Bill, 2023

The revised BNS Bill aligns its definition of ‘terrorist act’ with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA), expanding it to include activities such as producing counterfeit currency. The bill introduces stringent penalties for terrorism-related offenses, including death or life imprisonment for those involved in recruitment, training, or harboring terrorists. It also addresses issues of cruelty against women and safeguards against unauthorized publication of court proceedings.

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Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita, 2023

The BNSS Bill introduces community service as a punitive measure for minor offenses, promoting a reparative approach. It grants police extended powers to use handcuffs, now permitted not only during arrests but also during court appearances. Amendments also include provisions for conducting court proceedings via audio-visual means, aiming to expedite trials while adapting to technological advancements.

Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill, 2023

The BSA Bill modernizes evidence handling, specifying the admissibility of electronic evidence subject to authentication requirements. It updates terminology to replace ‘mental illness’ with ‘unsoundness of mind’ and introduces provisions for the admissibility of electronic records in legal proceedings.

New Criminal Law Bill 2023
Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill, 2023

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Existing Concerns and Future Directions

While the bills address modernization needs, concerns have been raised about potential overcriminalization and expanded police powers. Critics argue that these changes may inadvertently increase state control and limit individual freedoms.

In conclusion, the new criminal law bills represent a significant legislative effort to update India’s legal framework, aiming to enhance efficiency, address contemporary challenges, and ensure justice while navigating through various stakeholders’ concerns and recommendations.

New Criminal Law Bill 2023
New Criminal Law Bill 2023

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