The Structural Reform for the Criminal Justice System of India is underway as the three bills namely: the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 are to be reviewed and restructured.
In this context, the home ministry , government of India, introduced three new Bills to replace these codes Act on 11 August 2023 in the Lower House (Lok Sabha) of Parliament. The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023, the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill 2023 will replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 respectively.
It is pertinent to mention that this bill has been introduced in the Lower House only and has to pass various stages of the Legislative Process to become an Act. These bills are under the scrutiny of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs. The basic flow chart of the Indian legislative process is as below:
Introduction and First Reading Bill in either house of Parliament. However, the Money bill is introduced only in Lok Sabha.
- Publication in Gazette
- Reference of Bill to Standing Committees
Second Reading of Bills
- First Stage: general discussion of the bill as a whole.
- Second Stage: Detail Discussion clause by clause.
- Debate is confirmed to arguments in support or rejection of the bill without referring to the details.
Bill in other houses:
- In other houses, the bill has to go through all the stages mentioned above.
Joint Sitting of the Parliament:
- If a deadlock occurs between the two houses, a Joint Sitting may be considered for further action.
Assent of President
Bill become Act…
While introducing the said bills in Lok Sabha, Home Minister Amit Shah said the main purpose of these new laws is to protect the rights of citizens given by the Constitution. He also emphasized that “British-era laws were to protect and strengthen their rule and purpose. It was intended not to give justice but rather to punish the people.
However, the present government will bring changes in both these fundamental aspects. The main purpose of these new laws would be to protect the rights of citizens provided by the Constitution of India. The objective of these three bills would not be to punish anyone but to prove justice to the people and punishment will be given where it is required to create a sense of prevention of crime,” Shah stressed.
Changes for these three bills considered under Structural Reform for the criminal justice system of India, 2023
According to the Home Minister, Amit Shah, the intended structural change in the criminal justice system of India through the three bills introduced in Parliament is as follows:
1. The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill will replace the crops and will now have 533 sections. A total of 160 sections have been changed; nine new sections have been added, and nine sections have been repealed.
2. There will be 356 sections instead of the earlier 511 sections in the Nyaya Sanhita Bill, which will replace the IPC 22 sections have been repealed and 175 sections have been amended. However, eight new sections have been added.
3. The Bharatiya Sakshya Bill is going to replace the Evidence Act, of 1872, and will have 170 sections instead of the earlier 167. One new section has been added, five sections have been repealed, and 23 sections have been changed.
The restructuring of India’s criminal justice system will pave the way for more inclusive, just, and resilient institutions, which will help safeguard citizens’ rights in India. The introduction of the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023, the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill 2023 marked a significant turning point in the nation’s legal landscape. With a commitment to safeguarding citizens’ rights and emphasizing justice over punishment, these bills signify a departure from colonial-era laws.