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From Colonial IPC to New Laws: 10 Points on India’s Legal Overhaul

India’s criminal justice system will undergo a complete overhaul today with three fresh criminal codes replacing the full set of British-era laws, including the Indian Penal Code.

Three new criminal laws– Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA)– will come into effect on July 1. These laws will replace the British-era Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and Indian Evidence Act. The changes in the criminal justice system are aimed at a more streamlined and victim-centric approach. 

Here are the Top 10 points in this Big Story:

  1. The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam will replace the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act.
  2. The laws were changed to ensure speedier justice and be in sync with this day and age and the new forms of crime that occur, the government has said. Judgments are now required within 45 days of completion of trial and charges framed within 60 days of first hearing.
  3. The new laws will allow any person to file a Zero FIR at any police station, regardless of jurisdiction; it will permit online registration of police complaints and electronic serving of summons.
  4. They make videography of crime scenes mandatory for all heinous crimes. Summonses can be served electronically, expediting the legal processes.
  5. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said the change was made to ensure “speedy justice and justice to all”.  Proper implementation of these laws will require training and forensic teams, whose visits have been made mandatory for offences carrying a sentence of seven years or more, he said.
  6. New provisions have been made in view of emerging crimes like gang rapes, killing by mobs, false promise of marriage and others. “This will increase the demand for forensic experts across the country, which the NFSU (National Forensic Science University) will cater to,” Mr Shah has said.
  7. The NFSU was taken forward as the new laws were being framed, he added. Campuses of this university have been opened in 9 states, which will be expanded to 16 states.
  8. The Opposition parties, including the Congress, maintain the decision to implement the new criminal laws from July 1 has been taken in haste. More consultation was required before enforcing them, the party said.
  9. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to defer the implementation of the “hurriedly passed” laws. Parliament, she said, could then review them afresh.
  10. “These laws signify a watershed moment for our society because no law affects the day-to-day conduct of our society like the criminal law,” Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud has said.

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Source: NDTV

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