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Analysis Of The Parliamentary Debate On New Criminal Laws

This analysis report has been presented by Aishwarya Jain as part of her assignment in our certificate course on New Criminal Laws.

Parliament recently approved three new bills aimed at modernizing India’s criminal justice system. These bills replace colonial-era laws with a focus on harsher punishments for serious crimes like terrorism, lynching, and threats to national security. The bills, named the Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill, address a long-standing need to move away from outdated legal codes.

The bills, which replace the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and Indian Evidence Act, received approval in the Lok Sabha on 20th December, 2023 and received approval in Rajya Sabha on 21st December. The President Draupadi Murmu assented on 25th .

“The passage of Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023, Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023 is a watershed moment in our history. These Bills mark the end of colonial-era laws. A new era begins with laws centered on public service and welfare,” PM Modi tweeted. The Prime Minister stated, “These Bills ensure enhanced protection for the impoverished, marginalized, and vulnerable sections of our society.”
Additionally, he stated that the new legislation will take a strong stance against crimes like organized crime, terrorism, and other offenses that undermine our peaceful progress.
The new legislation seek to modernize the criminal justice system through:
– Changing laws from the colonial era
-Putting victim rights first
-A greater focus on national security
-Simplifying the process of managing digital evidence

Notably, most opposition MPs were suspended for their “unruly behavior” when they demanded a discussion on the December 13 security breach in Parliament, and as a result, the bills were passed in the Upper House without their presence.

Also, petitions were filed at SC. One of the please filed by Vishal Tiwari stating the news laws to be draconian and how it establishes a police state was dismissed by the Hon’ble SC. Tiwari pleaded that the bills were passed without any actual parliamentary debate.

These new laws criminalize acts like as terrorism, corruption, mob lynching, and organized crime. They allow individuals to file a police complaint at any police station, regardless of where the incident occurred. They recommend videotaping search and seizure activities, as well as increasing the use of electronic evidence and forensics during investigations. They propose community service as a new kind of punishment. They advocate for faster justice through video trials and holding trials in the absence of the accused.

The Conclusion:

Most experts claim the new bills “retain more than 80%” of the 160-year-old Indian Penal Code, which was drafted by British historian Thomas Babington Macaulay. They further state that the 50-year-old Code of Criminal Procedure has been modified and amended on a regular basis, most recently in 2018. “The majority of these bills retain exactly the same existing provisions under new names”.
Experts argue that instead than deleting laws and dealing with the immense administrative issues that would result, India might have simply amended existing laws.

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