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New Bills Proposed to Replace IPC CrPC and Evidence Act

Indian legal framework to undergo significant transformation as the Centre introduces three groundbreaking bills.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023 is set to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), marking a shift away from colonial-era legal provisions. Simultaneously, the Code of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) will give way to the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023. The Indian Evidence Act is also slated to be replaced by the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023, once it receives Parliamentary approval.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 Download PDF

The Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023 Download PDF

The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 Download PDF

The proposed changes include the elimination of sedition charges, capital punishment for mob lynching cases, and a novel approach of community service as a penalty for minor offenses. Additionally, the bills highlight the utilization of electronic and digital records as admissible evidence and the introduction of electronic summons.

These bills aim to discard the 163-year-old IPC, the 126-year-old CrPC, and the 151-year-old Indian Evidence Act, replacing them with more people-centric laws focused on safeguarding the rights of Indian citizens. The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023 will take the place of the IPC, while the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023 will supersede the CrPC, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023 will replace the Indian Evidence Act.

The Bills ensure gender-neutral treatment of offenses against women, children, and the State. The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill emphasizes this aspect.The new penal code introduces definitions for organized crimes and minor organized offenses. Organized crimes encompass a range of unlawful activities carried out by a group, including violence or threats, such as kidnapping, robbery, and cybercrimes with severe consequences. Petty organized crime is defined as activities causing general insecurity among citizens, such as vehicle theft, domestic theft, and shoplifting, committed by organized groups.

The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill introduces provisions for the trial and judgment of absconding individuals. It also advocates the use of technology and forensic sciences in crime investigation, electronic communication for information sharing and summons, and a citizen-centric approach.

The Bill ensures specific timelines for investigations, trials, and judgments. Victims will be informed of investigation progress, including through digital means. In cases where the punishment is seven years or more, victims will have the opportunity to be heard before case withdrawal by the Government. Summary trials will be mandatory for minor cases, with accused individuals possibly examined via electronic means like video conferencing.

The Bharatiya Sakshya Bill permits the admissibility of electronic and digital records as evidence, granting them equivalent legal weight as paper records.

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