Oct 19, 2023

Central Government Introduces Three New Bills in Lok Sabha

On August 11, 2023, the Central Government introduced three new Bills (‘Bills’) in the Lok Sabha, with an aim to reform India’s criminal justice system and ensure expeditious disposal of criminal matters. The Bills have been referred to the parliamentary standing committee for further examination and approval.

i.    Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 (‘BNS’): BNS intends to repeal the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’). The Bill retains several parts of the IPC and certain offences have been struck or read down. Key changes in BNS include offences relating to organised crime, acts of terrorism, punishments for mob lynching, and death penalty for gang rape of minor.

ii.   Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 (‘BNSS’): BNSS intends to replace the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (‘CrPC’). BNSS has introduced certain new definitions and amendments to terms that were defined in the CrPC and at the same time removed and replaced certain terms and definitions that used to be a part of CrPC. One of the most significant and recurring features in the BNSS is the introduction of electronic communication and audio-video electronic means for various procedures under the Bill. Some notable inclusion in the BNSS include the concept of zero FIR, along with stricter timelines for completing investigations, filing of chargesheets by the police and framing of charges by the court, along with a stipulated timeline for delivering judgements.

iii.  Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023 (‘BSB’): BSB intends to replace the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (‘Evidence Act’). The BSB retains several parts of the Evidence Act and widens the ambit of electronic records admissible as evidence.




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