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The bills have been passed after the Central Government had previously withdrawn the criminal law bills which were initially introduced in the parliament and after numerous amendments and changes suggested by the Parliamentary Standing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.
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:
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 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:
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.
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.
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).
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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