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Indian Criminal Justice System Replaces Three Existing Criminal Laws

Indian Criminal Justice System Replaces Three Existing Criminal Laws


Indian Criminal Justice System Replaces Three Existing Criminal Laws

Today, July 1, marks a significant shift in the Indian criminal justice system as three new criminal laws come into effect: the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023. These laws replace the colonial-era Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and Indian Evidence Act, ushering in a modernized legal framework. Here are ten crucial updates on these new laws:

Electronic Summons and Streamlined Procedures Summons can now be delivered electronically, expediting legal procedures, reducing paperwork, and ensuring effective communication among all parties involved.

Complimentary FIR Copies for Victims Victims will receive a complimentary copy of the FIR, ensuring their involvement and awareness throughout the legal proceedings.

Right to Inform a Chosen Person Upon Arrest Arrested individuals have the right to notify a person of their choosing, guaranteeing prompt support and assistance.

Public Display of Arrest Details Arrest details will be prominently displayed in police stations and district headquarters, providing easy access to crucial information for families and friends of the arrested individual.

Mandatory Forensic Expert Involvement For serious offences, forensic experts must visit crime scenes to gather evidence. The evidence collection process must be videographed to prevent tampering and strengthen cases and investigations.

Prioritized Investigations for Women and Children Investigations of offences against women and children must be completed within two months of the initial report. Victims are entitled to regular updates on their case’s progress every 90 days.

Free Medical Treatment for Victims Victims of crimes against women and children will receive free first-aid or medical treatment at all hospitals, ensuring immediate access to essential care.

Electronic Summons Delivery Electronic delivery of summonses will speed up legal procedures, reduce paperwork, and ensure effective communication among all parties involved.

Sensitive Recording of Victim Statements For specific offences against women, a female magistrate should ideally record the victim’s statements. If unavailable, a male magistrate must do so in the presence of a woman, ensuring sensitivity and fairness.

Timely Access to Legal Documents Both the accused and the victim have the right to receive copies of the FIR, police report, chargesheet, statements, confessions, and other documents within 14 days. Courts will allow a maximum of two adjournments to prevent unnecessary delays and ensure timely justice.

These three new laws—Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam—are set to transform India’s criminal justice system by replacing the outdated British-era laws. The Indian Penal Code of 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure Act of 1898, and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 are now obsolete.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who piloted the introduction of these new laws in the Indian criminal justice system, emphasized that these new laws prioritize justice over penal action, marking the end of colonial criminal justice laws. “These laws are made by Indians, for Indians, and by an Indian Parliament,” he stated.

Under the new legislation, judgments in criminal cases must be delivered within 45 days of trial completion, and charges must be framed within 60 days of the first hearing. Statements of rape victims will be recorded by a female police officer in the presence of a guardian or relative, and medical reports must be provided within seven days.

Additionally, organized crimes and acts of terrorism have been clearly defined, sedition has been replaced with treason, and video recording of all search and seizure operations has been made mandatory.

These updates signal a significant step forward in modernizing and humanizing the Indian criminal justice system, ensuring that justice is both swift and fair.

(With inputs from other agencies)

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