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Parliament Passes Criminal Law Bills replacing the erstwhile IPC, CrPC and IEA

By - King Stubb & Kasiva on January 2, 2024


In the ongoing winter session of the parliament, both the houses – Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have passed the three new criminal law bills which are Bharatiya Nyaya Bill (Second) 2023 which would replace the Indian Penal Code, 1860; Bharatiya Sakshya Bill (Second) 2023 which would replace the Indian Evidence Act 1872 and Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Bill (Second) 2023 which would replace the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973.

The bills have been passed after the Central Government had previously withdrawn the criminal law bills which were initially introduced in the parliament and after numerous amendments and changes suggested by the Parliamentary Standing Committee chaired by Sh. Brij Lal, who is also a member of Rajya Sabha, these bills had been brought in again.

Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill 2023

The Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill, which has recently been passed by both the houses of the parliament and is set to replace the Indian Evidence Act 1872 has various peculiar features which differentiate it from the erstwhile Act, which are as follows:

  • The Bill has added and included the definition and scope of ‘document’ within the scope of Evidences in a criminal trial.
  • The statements which are received electronically in a court or by the investigating agencies have also been included within the scope and definition of ‘evidences.’
  • The electronic or digital records which were earlier not included within the scope of evidences have been made legally valid and admissible and will therefore also become enforceable.
  • The corroborated testimony of accomplices which was earlier not a ground for conviction has been made legal.
  • Husbands/wives who were earlier not considered as a competent witness in criminal proceedings against spouses have been made competent witness.
  • Various new kinds of secondary evidences such as oral evidences, written admissions and other such evidences which cannot have been conveniently examined by the courts have been added as evidences.

Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023

Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023 which aims to replace the erstwhile and oldest colonial statute pertaining to substantive criminal law i.e., the Indian Penal Code 1860 has various peculiar features which have been brought in by the legislature such as:

  • The definition of ‘Child’ has been introduced in the new bill which was earlier absent in the code.
  • The definition of ‘Gender’ which did not include the third gender or transgenders has been broadened to include the same.
  • ‘Inchoate offences’ which were earlier a grey area in the criminal laws have found their place in the new bill through a separate chapter on them including attempt, abetment and conspiracy to commit these crimes.
  • A new chapter covering the offences against women and children has been introduced.
  • The definition of ‘document’ which did not include electronic and digital records has been broadened to include the same.
  • Community Service has been included as a method of punishment for offence of theft in amount less than Rs. 5,000/-
  • Attempt to commit suicide is deleted.
  • New offences such as organized crimes, petty organized crimes, mob lynching, hiring minors for committing offences, sexual exploitation of females by deceitful means etc., have also been introduced.

Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita 2023

The Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita 2023 which aims to replace the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, which regulated the procedural portion of criminal trials also has various peculiar features which differentiate it from the erstwhile Code that are as follows:

  • Electronic First information Reports (FIRs) have been introduced for the purpose of convenience of citizens and effectively combating crime.
  • Attempts have been made to control adjournments by giving not more than 2 adjournments for a case.
  • Under the definition of ‘Victim’, the investigating agencies have been given the responsibility to inform the witnesses about the progress of the case.
  • Provisions for obtaining bail in acquittal cases have been simplified and first time undertrials are provided with early release on bail.
  • In order to reduce the pendency in courts, timeline for completing trial and investigations has been introduced.
  • The concept of preliminary enquiry has been introduced in offences punishable from 3 years to less than 7 years.
  • Scope for declaring an offender as proclaimed offender has been introduced covering numerous new forms of offences. Moreover, up to 15 days an accused can be allowed to be in a police custody.


 The erstwhile Indian criminal laws comprising of the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and Indian Evidence Act were deeply impacted by the shadows of the colonial past wherein the objectives of penal laws were not aimed to create a welfare state but to supress the struggle for freedom and activities of the freedom fighters.

Moreover, through the course of time, the needs of society and the country have changed due to which numerous provisions of law have either become redundant or have become a burden upon the State due to lack of proper guidelines and partial recognition of digital crimes. Therefore, the new criminal laws have catered well to the needs of the hour. Even though much of the content from the erstwhile statutes has been retained in these new laws, significant and necessary additions have been made while restructuring and re – arranging the sections and chapters across these three statutes.

White collar crimes and offences which involve a significant level of technical expertise have also been covered in these acts which earlier posed difficulties for being tackled due to inadequate level of technical expertise and enabling legislations.


What is new criminal law bill 2023?

The Lok Sabha passed the three criminal laws — the Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill.

Which list is criminal law?

Criminal law and criminal procedure fall under the Concurrent List while matters relating to Police and Prisons fall under the State List. The laws that govern criminal law in India are the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and the Criminal Procedure Code, 1974 (CrPC).

Is criminal law and IPC same?

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) was the official criminal code in the Republic of India, inherited from British India after its independence. It is a comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law.

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