Shah introduces three bills to replace IPC, CrPC, Evidence Act in Lok Sabha

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah introduced three bills in the Lok Sabha on Friday, August 11, 2023, to replace the colonial-era Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the Indian Evidence Act. The new bills are the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) Bill, 2023, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) Bill, 2023, and the Bharatiya Sakshya (BS) Bill, 2023, which aim to ensure speedy justice, protect constitutional rights, and deliver justice with the Indian soul. The bills have been sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for further scrutiny.

The BNS Bill seeks to replace the IPC, which was enacted in 1860 by the British Raj. The bill proposes to scrap the sedition law and introduce a new section to deal with secession, armed rebellion, subversive activities, separatist activities, or activities that endanger the sovereignty, or unity and integrity of India. The bill also proposes punishment for mob lynching, which can go up to the death penalty, and sexual intercourse with women on the false promise of marriage, which can attract 10 years imprisonment. The bill also states that sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 18 years of age, is not rape.

The BNSS Bill seeks to replace the CrPC, which was enacted in 1898 by the British Raj. The bill proposes to try absconding criminals such as Dawood Ibrahim in-absentia and sentence them, and make video recording of the statement of survivors of crime against women compulsory. The bill also proposes to inform the status of a complaint to the victim or complainant within 90 days, and consult the victim before withdrawing a case punishable by seven years or more. The bill also introduces community service for petty offences.

The BS Bill seeks to replace the Evidence Act, which was enacted in 1872 by the British Raj. The bill proposes to make forensic evidence mandatory for cases involving seven years or more imprisonment, and allow electronic evidence such as CCTV footage, digital signatures, and biometric data. The bill also proposes to protect the identity and privacy of witnesses and victims, and provide them with compensation and rehabilitation.

New laws to replace colonial-era IPC, CrPC, Evidence Act passed by Lok Sabha

Shah said that the old laws were focused on punishing and not delivering justice, and that the new laws will be imbibed with the Indian soul. He said that the aim of the new laws is to increase the conviction rate above 90 per cent, and ensure that people who approach the courts get justice within three years. He said that the new laws will safeguard the constitutional rights of the citizens and reflect the aspirations of the nation.

The opposition parties, however, raised concerns over the new bills and demanded more time for discussion and debate. They questioned the need and urgency for replacing the existing laws, and accused the government of trying to undermine the federal structure and the judicial system. They also expressed doubts over the feasibility and implementation of the new laws, and asked for wider consultation and consensus among the stakeholders.

summary of the main points:

The Lok Sabha passed three bills on Friday, August 11, 2023, to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the Indian Evidence Act, which are colonial-era laws.

The new bills are the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) Bill, 2023, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) Bill, 2023, and the Bharatiya Sakshya (BS) Bill, 2023, which aim to ensure speedy justice, protect constitutional rights, and deliver justice.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the bills and said that the old laws were focused on punishing and not delivering justice, and that the new laws will be imbibed with the Indian soul.

Some of the significant changes proposed in the new bills are:

  • Scrapping the sedition law and introducing a new section to deal with secession, armed rebellion, subversive activities, separatist activities, or activities that endanger the sovereignty, or unity and integrity of India.
  • Introducing punishment for mob lynching, which can go up to the death penalty.
  • Making sexual intercourse with women on the false promise of marriage a punishable offence.
  • Trying absconding criminals in-absentia and sentencing them.
  • Making video recording of the statement of survivors of crime against women compulsory.
  • Introducing community service for petty offences.
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