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Key features of Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023

This article is written by ADARSH SHARMA, Siddhartha law college Dehradun, BA LLB during his internship at LeDroit India

Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. What is BNSS
  3. Key features of the bill
  4. What are the PROS and CONS  of the bill
  5. Conclusion:

Introduction

Bhartiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill  was introduce in Lok Sabha on August 11,2023 to replace the code of criminal procedure,1973 (CrPC) and the BNSS will be a legal statute in India that governs the procedural aspects of criminal law . It provide a frame work for the investigation trial and adjudication of criminal case.

 What is BNSS

The BNSS is a improvise version of CrPC 1973, In which new rule were added and the procedure of criminal trial is updated according to the current need of the society , because the CrPC 1973 was firstly enacted by the British parliament in 1861 in INDIA  and then erstwhile act was repealed and replaced by the existing CrPC1973. And from last so many years the same procedure was followed up for the  criminal trial with so many loop holes and unwanted rules by Which there were so many backlog of cases in courts, low conviction rates, limited technology integration in our legal system, investigation delays . So just to expedite the justice system is BNSS introduce ( Copy of FIR , File zero FIR ,Mercy Petitions etc.)

 Key features of the bill

Copy of FIR: Within 14 days of the accused’s date of production, a copy of the FIR must be provided at no cost to both the victim and the accused.

File a zero FIR: This allows you to report a crime from anywhere in the nation.

(A zero FIR is created when a police station gets a complaint about an alleged offense that was allegedly committed under the jurisdiction of another police station. The complaint is then registered and forwarded to the appropriate police station for additional investigation.)

Expedite the process:

The accused will be questioned electronically, such as by video conference.

It has become necessary for minor and less serious matters to conduct summary trials.

simplified magistratal structure.  

Increased reliance on technology:

electronic forms for trials, appeals, and recording of depositions, including those of public employees and law enforcement

Electronic copies of summonses, warrants, papers, police reports, etc.

Electronic information can also be submitted to the police.

Evidence search and seizure, a forensic expert’s visit to the crime site, and the victim’s testimony must all be recorded on audio and video. e-FIR: Each district and police station will choose a police officer to formally notify the arrested individual’s family both in person and online of his detention.

Sedition: It describes the Executive Magistrate’s process for handling information on the spread of any seditious material.

Undertrial detention:

 In accordance with the CrPC, an accused individual must be released on personal bail after serving half of the allowed amount of time in custody.

Crimes carrying a death sentence are not covered by this.

According to the BNSS2, this clause will also not apply to those who have many outstanding legal actions against them or to offenses carrying a life sentence.

Medical examination:

In some situations, including rape trials, the CrPC permits the accused to undergo medical examination.

A certified medical professional does this type of examination upon the request of a police officer, at minimum the rank of sub-inspector.

Any police officer may seek such an examination, according to the BNSS2.

Forensic investigation:

 Under the BNSS2, every offense carrying a minimum sentence of seven years in prison must undergo forensic inquiry.

In these situations, forensic specialists will go to crime sites to gather evidence and document the proceedings using a cell phone or other technological equipment.

A state must use forensics facilities located in another state if it lacks its own.

Finger imprints and signatures:

 A magistrate may require someone to produce sample handwriting or signatures under the CrPC.

This is extended by the BNSS2 to accommodate voice samples and finger imprints.

It makes it possible to obtain these samples from someone who hasn’t been taken into custody.

Procedure timelines:

The BNSS2 specifies deadlines for a number of different procedures.

For example, medical professionals who examine victims of rape are required to report their findings to the investigating officer within seven days.

Protections against arrests:  If an offense carries a sentence of less than three years in prison or if the suspect is older than sixty, no one may be taken into custody without the previous consent of an officer, not lower than the level of deputy superintendent of police.

Cases that are cognizable: In the event that an offense carries a sentence of three to seven years, the police officer will perform an initial investigation to determine whether a compelling case can be made in the next fourteen days.

Mercy petitions: A criminal sentenced to death may file a mercy petition with the governor within 30 days of learning from the jail officials how the petition was handled.

The individual has 60 days to petition the President if they are denied. No court shall hear an appeal of the President’s order.

Sanction to prosecute: After receiving a request, the government has 120 days to decide whether to approve or deny sanction to bring charges against a public official.

In situations involving sexual offenses, human trafficking, etc., no punishment is necessary.

Carrying weapons : in a procession is forbidden by the new rule for district magistrates participating in mass drills, training sessions, or parades.

Samples without arrest: For the purpose of an inquiry, a court may order someone to provide samples of their voice, handwriting, signature, or finger imprints without placing them under arrest.

Detention: As part of preventative action, police have the right to hold or remove anyone who is resisting, rejecting, ignoring, or disobeying instructions.

What are the PROS and CONS of the bill:

Pros of the bill

For several processes that aren’t included in the CrPC ordinarily, the Bill specifies deadlines.

Following their inquiry, medical officials have a timeframe by which to turn in their reports.

It explains and describes a few processes. For example, the requirement to present an apprehended individual to a magistrate within a 24-hour period.

That an accused person may appear before “any” magistrate “irrespective of jurisdiction” is defined rather explicitly.

CONS of the bill

Complex: The processes outlined in the current legislation are not made simpler by the proposed code.

technological mode: It highlights the use of technological means to record the accused’s remarks while also requesting their signatures on the recorded statement. It’s possible that this defeats the point of allowing electronic recording.

Delays: Finding important pieces of evidence may take longer if a DSP-level officer is required to perform an initial inquiry before starting the real investigation.

Further delays might result from allowing investigative authorities to conduct their investigation while the case is pending.

Effect on fundamental rights: It may have an impact on people’s basic rights if police are permitted to use handcuffs on suspects who are suspected of crimes of a particular severity.

Clarity: Although the draft legislation defines bail, it is still unclear what conditions a judge must meet in order to give bail for non-bailable offenses. The ambiguous phrase “bail may be granted if the court deems fit” found in Section 484 may result in arbitrary decisions.

The Bill does not define transit bail, even if it clarifies the remand problem.

Conclusion:

The goal of the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 is to expedite and modernize India’s criminal justice system by implementing important reforms that guarantee the protection of individuals’ rights. But in the middle of these advancements, serious issues have surfaced. Significant criticism has been directed towards issues pertaining to the police’s prolonged and excessive power. Because of this, it will be necessary to strike a fair balance between efficiency and safeguarding basic rights in order to guarantee the proper implementation of this legislation.

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