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May, 27

Parliamentary panel begins examination of 3 Criminal Law Bills

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Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Thursday gave a detailed presentation to a Parliamentary committee examining three Bills that seek to replace Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and the Evidence Act for having a contemporary and robust criminal justice system.

Rajya Sabha had sent the three Bills — the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill — to the standing committee on home affairs for examination in the just held parliamentary session. The Parliamentary panel, headed by BJP MP and former UP DGP Brijlal, is expected to prepare a report in three months, which is before the country goes to Lok Sabha polls, and hand over to Rajya Sabha.

During the Parliamentary panel meeting, DMK member Dayanidhi Maran is said to have opposed Hindi names given to the Bills on the grounds that other non-Hindi speaking regions would find it difficult to understand them and suggested the committee should hold consultations with members of the bar at different States, noting that criminal trials are held in district-level courts.

It is learned that TMC’s Derek O’Brien supported Maran’s idea that the committee should be visiting States to hear the views of stakeholders. Home Secretary Bhalla’s presentation to the committee will continue for the next two days to explain the purpose of bringing the three legislations.

Simplifying trial

The proposed new laws are geared not only towards addressing the current challenges faced in the criminal justice system but also introduce provisions to incorporate technology and forensic science, simplify procedures, reduce the pendency of cases in courts, strengthen prosecution, increase fines upon conviction, decrease crowding in correctional homes, said MHA officials. Besides that, it aims at expediting and simplifying the process of Trial.

Amendments

The Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, in place of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860, consists of 358 sections. In the Sanhita, 22 sections of the existing IPC have been deleted, 175 sections have been amended, 8 new sections have been added and 184 sections remain unchanged, MHA officials stated.

Similarly, the Bhartiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023, would replace the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973. Nine sections of the existing CrPC have been deleted, 160 sections have been amended, 9 new sections have been added and 364 sections remain unchanged.

The Bhartiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023, would ride over the Indian Evidence (IE) Act 1872. Five sections of the existing IE Act have been deleted, its 23 sections have been amended, 1 new section has been added and 149 sections remain unchanged.

Colonial terms in the Bhartiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023, have been dropped by introducing necessary modifications in the bill. The words deleted are like ‘Parliament of the United Kingdom’, ‘Provincial Act’, ‘notification by the Crown Representative’, ‘London Gazette’, ‘any Dominion, colony or possession of his Majesty, ‘Jury’ and ‘Lahore’.





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