Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday introduced bills in Parliament to replace the British-era Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the Indian Evidence Act.
The proposed changes include capital punishment for mob lynching, sexual assaults on minors, and 20-year imprisonment for gang rape, along with the repeal of the sedition offense.
These bills, named Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, and Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, will be sent to a parliamentary panel for examination.
Section 150 of the Bharatiya Sanhita Suraksha Bill is in line with the statute Commission of India's suggestion to increase the sentence for sedition from three to seven years, while maintaining the sedition statute from the colonial era. The objective is to make its meaning and application more clear. Due to its colonial roots being at odds with modern society, the Supreme Court provisionally prohibited Section 124A (sedition) in May of 2022.
The legislation protects communications made in good faith that accidentally cause harm while addressing the issue of individual defence against deadly assault during mob attacks. If an accused person has already served half of the maximum sentence in jail while awaiting trial, bail may be granted under the terms of the Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita. New crimes relating to terrorism and organised crime have been added, and gender-neutral wording has been adopted.
Shah stressed that the purpose of the new laws is to ensure the safety of citizens and to provide them with fair treatment rather than merely punishment. He said he wanted to make sure investigations and verdicts were completed quickly while increasing the conviction rate to over 90%. In order to lower the probability of an acquittal in cases involving sentences longer than seven years in jail, forensic teams will be present at the scenes of these crimes. In rape cases, statements must be recorded on video. The legislation is an expression of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise to update the country's legal system, which dates back to colonial times.
Shah announced that the government's goal is to have all courts computerised by 2027, to have investigations completed more quickly, and to have verdicts handed down within 30 days of charges being filed. He stressed the importance of these updates in bringing the criminal justice system up to speed with the times and meeting the needs of the public.
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