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Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) Vs. The Code of Criminal Procedure(CrPc)

The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) of 2023 ushers in a significant reform of India’s criminal justice system, aiming to make it more accessible and responsive to citizens’ needs. This new law introduces several key changes that prioritize efficiency and transparency:

    • Time-Bound Investigations: Recognizing the importance of swift investigations, the BNSS establishes specific timeframes for probing serious offenses. Section 176 mandates on-site investigations by appointed experts for crimes punishable with seven or more years of imprisonment. This ensures thorough and professional evidence collection, potentially leading to faster resolution of cases.

    • Digital Transformation: Embracing the digital age, Section 173 of the BNSS paves the way for conducting trials, inquiries, and legal proceedings electronically. This streamlines processes, potentially reducing delays and making legal procedures more accessible.

    • Zero FIRs: A groundbreaking concept introduced by the BNSS is the implementation of Zero FIRs. Section 173 empowers individuals to file a First Information Report (FIR) for a cognizable offense at any police station, regardless of jurisdictional boundaries. This eliminates the inconvenience of having to report the crime only at the specific police station where it occurred. The Act mandates the transfer of the FIR to the appropriate station within 15 days, ensuring prompt action is taken irrespective of the location of the crime.

    • Leveraging Technology for Public Benefit: The BNSS emphasizes the utilization of the Crime and Criminal Tracking System for the benefit of the public. This centralized database will likely provide greater transparency and accessibility to information related to criminal cases, potentially empowering citizens and ensuring better monitoring of the criminal justice system.

The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita represents a significant step towards modernizing and streamlining India’s criminal procedural system. By focusing on time-bound investigations, digitalization of processes, and citizen-centric initiatives like Zero FIRs, the BNSS aims to make justice more efficient, accessible, and responsive to the needs of the public.

CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE,1973 BHARTIYA NAGARIK SURAKSHA SANHITA(BNSS)
Zero FIR-While the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) may emphasize the concept of Zero FIRs within its provisions, it wasn’t entirely a new introduction in the Indian legal system.The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) itself did not have a specific section dedicated to Zero FIRs.
Evolution of the Concept: However, the concept of Zero FIR emerged through various judicial pronouncements and recommendations.Justice Verma Committee: Following the horrific Nirbhaya gangrape case in 2012, the Justice Verma Committee strongly recommended the implementation of Zero FIRs to address jurisdictional hurdles and ensure prompt action for victims.Supreme Court Judgments: The Supreme Court, in cases like Lalita Kumari vs Govt. of UP (2014), emphasized the mandatory registration of an FIR when information discloses a cognizable offense, regardless of the location where the complaint is filed.
A groundbreaking concept introduced by the BNSS is the implementation of Zero FIRs. Section 173 empowers individuals to file a First Information Report (FIR) for a cognizable offense at any police station, regardless of jurisdictional boundaries. This eliminates the inconvenience of having to report the crime only at the specific police station where it occurred. The Act mandates the transfer of the FIR to the appropriate station within 15 days, ensuring prompt action is taken irrespective of the location of the crime.
The old laws likely did not have a provision for a public-facing Crime and Criminal Tracking System (CCTNS).The CrPC focused on the internal workings of the criminal justice system, with information access primarily restricted to law enforcement and court personnel. Public access to case details was limited. Leveraging Technology for Public Benefit: The BNSS emphasizes the utilization of the Crime and Criminal Tracking System for the benefit of the public. This centralized database will likely provide greater transparency and accessibility to information related to criminal cases, potentially empowering citizens and ensuring better monitoring of the criminal justice system.

The CrPC itself did not have specific timeframes mandated for completing investigations. This often led to delays and backlogs in the legal system.

Judicial Guidelines: However, courts did establish guidelines over time to ensure a reasonable timeframe for investigations. These guidelines varied depending on the complexity of the case and the availability of resources.

Criticisms of Delays: The lack of strict timeframes was often criticized for hindering justice and causing undue stress on victims and accused individuals waiting for case resolution.

Time-Bound Investigations: Recognizing the importance of timely investigations, the BNSS establishes specific timeframes for probing serious offenses. Section 176 mandates mandatory on-site investigations by appointed experts for crimes punishable with seven or more years of imprisonment. This ensures thorough and professional evidence collection, potentially leading to faster resolution of cases.
There wasn’t a provision in the old laws (likely referring to the Code of Criminal Procedure or CrPC) that explicitly allowed for conducting trials, inquiries, and legal proceedings entirely electronically.When the CrPC was enacted, widespread use of technology for legal proceedings wasn’t envisioned. While some provisions might have allowed for the use of electronic evidence, the focus remained on physical presence and traditional methods of conducting court proceedings. Embracing Digital Technology: Reflecting the digital age, Section 173 of the BNSS paves the way for conducting trials, inquiries, and legal proceedings electronically. This streamlines processes, potentially reducing delays and making legal procedures more accessible.