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The Indian government announced that three new criminal laws will replace the colonial-era legislations, marking a significant shift in the country’s legal framework.

Implementation Date:

The Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita, and the Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill are set to come into effect from July 1.

Replacement of Old Laws:

These new laws will replace the Indian Penal Code of 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) of 1973, and Indian Evidence Act of 1872, modernizing the legal system.

Parliamentary Approval and Presidential Assent:

The laws were cleared by the Parliament last December and received the assent of President Droupadi Murmu.

Features of the New Laws:

Union Home Minister Amit Shah emphasized that the laws prioritize Indian values, the Constitution, and the well-being of the people.

The legislation encourages the use of technology and gives more importance to forensic science in investigation, prosecution, and the judicial system.

Key Changes and Reforms:

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita introduces reforms such as ‘community service’ as punishment for minor thefts and includes transgenders in the gender definition.

The Nyay Sanhita adds 20 new offences like organized crime, terrorist acts, mob lynching, and sexual exploitation of women.

The laws expand the definition of terrorism and provide for the death penalty for offenses like mob lynching and rape of minors.

Adultery, homosexual sex, and suicide attempts will no longer be considered crimes under the new laws.

Notification and Commencement:

The Ministry of Home Affairs issued notifications confirming that the new laws will be effective from July 1, 2024.

However, the implementation of a specific provision related to ‘causing death by rash and negligent driving’ has been put on hold.

Parliamentary Passage and Presidential Assent:

These laws, replacing the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and Indian Evidence Act, were passed by Parliament on December 21, 2023, and received Presidential assent on December 25, 2023.

They were scheduled to come into force as per the date appointed by the Union Government.

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