Explained | Deciphering The New Criminal Law: Everything You Need To Know

These laws replace the long-standing colonial-era statutes: the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (IEA).
India's legal system is adopting the new criminal laws.

India's legal system is adopting the new criminal laws.

Today, on July 1, 2024, India marks a significant legal transition as three new criminal laws passed by Parliament in 2023 officially take effect. The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) received the assent of President Droupadi Murmu on December 25, 2023. These laws replace the long-standing colonial-era statutes: the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (IEA).
Supreme Court Advocate Jayant Sinha has explained the nuances of the newly enacted criminal codes, highlighting pivotal modifications and essential aspects for public understanding.
He underscored key reforms aimed at streamlining legal procedures, enhancing judicial efficiency.

Here Are A Few Major Takeaways:

Sections Added In The New Criminal Law

1. Organised Crime (Section 107) : Defines and penalizes organised crime.
2. Terrorist Acts (Section 109): Specific provisions for terrorism-related offences.
3. Cybercrimes (Section 119): Covers cybercrime and digital fraud.
4. Marital Rape (Section 375A): Criminalizes marital rape.
5. Acid Attacks (Sections 326A and 326B): Addresses acid attacks separately.

Sections Deleted or Amended In The New Criminal Law

1. Sedition (Section 124A): Repealed or significantly amended.
2. Adultery (Section 497): Decriminalised per Supreme Court rulings.
3. Begging (Section 363A): Removed sections penalizing begging.
4. Unnatural Offenses (Section 377): Partially decriminalized consensual homosexual acts.

Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS)

New Sections Added:
1. Speedy Trial (Section 309A): Time-bound trial procedures.
2. Victim Compensation (Section 357A): Provisions for victim compensation.
3. Digital Evidence (Section 65B): Admissibility of electronic records.
4. Witness Protection (Section 195A): Guidelines for witness protection.
Sections Deleted or Amended:
1. Arrest without Warrant (Section 41): Stricter criteria for arrests without warrants.
2. Confessions (Section 164): Transparent recording of confessions.
3. Summary Trials (Section 260): Streamlined for efficiency.

Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA)

New Sections Added:
1. Admissibility of Digital Evidence (Section 22A): Conditions for digital evidence admissibility.
2. DNA Evidence (Section 45A): Provisions for DNA evidence.
3. Scientific Evidence (Section 46A): Guidelines for scientific evidence.
4. Chain of Custody (Section 65B): Ensures clear chain of custody for evidence.
Sections Deleted or Amended:
1. Hearsay Evidence (Section 60): Narrowed scope of hearsay evidence admissibility.
2. Confessions (Section 24): Clearer guidelines on confessions admissibility.
3. Dying Declaration (Section 32): Modern means of recording and presenting dying declarations.
The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) are proposed to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), and Evidence Act, respectively, aiming to modernize India's legal framework.

What Changes?

IPC 302 - BNS 103
Offence | Murder
Punishment | Death or imprisonment for life and fine
IPC 304 - BNS 105
Offence | Culpable homicide
Punishment | Imprisonment for life, or imprisonment for not less than 5 years, which may extend to 10 years and fine
IPC 304-A - BNS 105
Offence | Causing death by negligence
Punishment | Imprisonment for 5 years and fine
IPC 304-A - BNS 106
Offence | Causing death by negligence by registered medical practitioner
Punishment | Imprisonment for 2 years and fine
IPC 307 - BNS 109 (1)
Offence | Attempt to murder
Punishment | Imprisonment for 10 years and fine
IPC 309 - BNS 226
Offence | Attempt to commit suicide
Punishment | Imprisonment
IPC 379 - BNS 303(2)
Offence | Theft
Punishment | Rigorous imprisonment for not be less than 1 year but which may extend to 5 years, and fine
IPC 380- BNS 305
Offence | Theft in a dwelling house, or means of transportation or place of worship, etc
Punishment | Imprisonment for 7 years and nine
IPC 384 - BNS 308(2)
Offence | Extortion
Punishment | Cognizable Non-bailable; imprisonment for 7 years, or fine, or both
IPC 396 - BNS 310(3)
Offence | Murder in dacoity
Punishment | Death, imprisonment for life, or rigorous imprisonment for not less than 10 years and fine
IPC 397- BNS 311
Offence | Robbery, or dacoity, with attempt to cause death
Punishment | Imprisonment for not less than 7 year
CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN
IPC 354 - BNS 74
Offence | Molestation
Punishment | Imprisonment for 1 year which may extent to 5 years and fine
IPC 354-A - BNS 75(2)
Offence | Sexual harassment
Punishment | Rigorous imprisonment with 3 years or fine or both
IPC 315 - BNS 91
Offence | Infanticide
Punishment | Imprisonment for 10 years, or fine or both
IPC 147 - BNS 191(2)
Offence | Rioting
Punishment | Imprisonment
IPC 354-D - BNS 78
Offence | Stalking
Punishment | Imprisonment up to 3 years and fine
IPC 376 - BNS 64
Offence Rape
Punishment | Rigorous imprisonment for not less than 10 years but may extend to imprisonment for life and fine
IPC 376-A - BNS 66
Offence | Punishment for causing death or resulting in persistent vegetative state of victim
Punishment | Punishable with rigorous imprisonment for not less than 20 years but may extend to imprisonment for life which shall mean the remainder of that person's natural life or with death
IPC 376-0-BNS 70(1)
Offence | Gang Rape
Punishment | Rigorous imprisonment for not less than 20 years but which may extend to imprisonment for life which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person's natural life and fine.
(With inputs from Advocate Jayant Sinha)
End of Article
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