Three bills have recently been introduced to replace the Indian Penal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code, and the Indian Evidence Act.
IPC ( Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita)
To be more specific, the Indian Penal law (IPC) is India’s primary criminal law. It was passed in 1860 and serves as a guide for criminal offences, their penalties, and the judicial process. The goals of the IPC include preserving public safety, safeguarding individual liberties, and establishing fairness. Theft, violence, and even more sophisticated crimes like fraud and cybercrime are all included. Over time, the code has been updated to reflect changing social mores while still adhering to a set of fundamental values. It’s very important to India’s jurisprudence and social stability.
CrPC (Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita)
Criminal investigations, prosecutions, and trials are all governed by the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) under Indian law. It specifies what authorities, judges, and citizens in the criminal justice system may and cannot do. Arrest, bail, search and seizure, evidence, and sentence are all areas where the CrPC promotes fairness, justice, and due process for both the accused and the state. Its goals include preserving public safety and order without compromising individual liberties.
The Indian Evidence Act (Bharatiya Sakshya)
A linchpin of Indian law is the Indian Evidence Act, which was passed in 1872. In both civil and criminal proceedings, it dictates the norms and processes for the presentation of evidence. The Act specifies and establishes rules for the admission and relevance of different forms of evidence, such as oral, documentary, and expert testimony. It specifies who has the burden of evidence and how arguments might be refuted. The Act also outlaws some types of evidence and sets forth guidelines for determining credibility while protecting confidential conversations. The Indian Evidence Act promotes confidence in India’s judicial system by requiring all parties to be treated equally under the law.
IPC, CrPC, and Evidence Act Amendment Bill Introduced
Union home minister introduces the bills
Union Home Minister Amit Shah tabled three measures in the Lok Sabha to replace the British colonial period Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Indian Evidence Act.
Sedition provisions would be fully removed from the new draught that will replace the IPC. Our criminal justice system will be completely revamped thanks to these laws, the home minister assured the chamber. He said that a parliamentary committee will be tasked with reviewing the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said that the proposed legislations will bring about a “transformative change” in the Indian judicial system by emphasising the delivery of justice over punishment. The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) Bill, 2023, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) Bill, 2023, and the Bharatiya Sakshya (BS) Bill, 2023 will replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1898, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
Here are some points given below :
The BNS Bill’s most notable change is the elimination of Section 124A, which previously dealt with sedition, and the addition of a new section that establishes penalties for acts of secession, armed rebellion, subversion, separatism, or threats to India’s sovereignty or unity and integrity.
Mob lynching, which Shah claims has been given the death sentence after careful consideration, is also included in the law.
A total of 313 amendments had been recommended for the three criminal statutes in order to guarantee that anyone who sought redress via the legal system would get it within three years.
“The laws that are being replaced were essentially aimed at safeguarding the continuation of the British administration and their objective was to punish, not deliver justice,” said Shah.
The new legislation will protect fundamental freedoms and ensure that everyone is treated fairly. These laws will be imbibed with the Indian soul.
Laws and how they will evolve
According to Shah, the proposed BNSS Bill comprises 533 provisions, nine of which are new, 160 are revised, and nine are repealed, all in an effort to replace the CrPC.
After amendments to 175 IPC parts, the inclusion of 8, and the repeal of 22, the BNS Bill now includes 356 sections.
Among the 170 parts of the BS Bill, also known as the proposed new evidence legislation, there are 23 suggested amendments, one proposed addition, and five proposed repeals.
Slavery’s hallmarks might be seen in every one of these statutes. They had been approved by the British Parliament, and we now followed suit. There are allusions to the British government, the London Gazette, the Privy Council, and the British throne. According to Shah, “there are 475 such references.”
Shah said that the BNS Bill would allow for the trial and punishment of fugitives who have fled to other nations. Server logs, mobile device records, text messages, and computer hard drives would all be treated as “legal documents” under the new legislation, he said.
The proposed legislation would also mandate the use of video recording equipment during search and seizure procedures. Forensic evidence has been emphasised, and this is part of a larger effort, according to Shah, since the conviction rate in India remains “very low” and 90 percent is the target.
The proposed legislation would make forensic team visits obligatory for crimes punishable by more than seven years in prison. It also aims to make it such that victims of sexual abuse must have their statements recorded on camera.