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Amid challenges, Karnataka police gear up for new criminal laws

For the last four months, policemen in the state are undergoing focused and intensive training programmes to make them understand the new laws.
Last Updated : 01 July 2024, 02:53 IST

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Bengaluru: Following dual procedures (since the cases registered till June 30 will be under the old laws) and videographing the entire process of evidence collection along with following panchnama process (the record of events in the presence of panchas or witnesses) at each stage were some of the challenges highlighted by the state police as they gear up for three new criminal laws, which come into force on July 1.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and Bharatiya Sakshya Act will replace Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and Indian Evidence Act, respectively.

Both old & new

“The police have to deal with both laws in terms of collection of evidence and criminal procedure, since old law will still be applicable for cases registered on or before June 30,” Dr B R Ravikanthe Gowda, Inspector General of Police (Central Range), told DH.

“Cases on and after July 1 will be dealt with as per the provisions of the new criminal laws. The challenge for the police is to keep in mind both procedures as we proceed with investigation.”

A senior crime branch officer in Bengaluru said currently, investigators are familiar with the needs of a case and court expectations.

Time-consuming

“Now, with the new laws, interpretations will change from magistrate to magistrate. Investigators will take time to become familiar with legal necessities.

“Missing out on certain procedures during investigation that are mandated in new laws is a major hurdle. This will create a loophole for the defense lawyer, causing the case to fall flat. However, these are theoretical interpretations, and going further will provide a better understanding,” he added.

Panchnama

Major changes in procedures were made concerning the panchnama process and evidence collection, which has become more extensive.

Now, investigators have to follow panchnama process in all stages along with videographing the crime scene and the entire process of evidence collection.

Investigators have expressed fears over maintaining digital records as there were chances of corrupt devices, especially in high-profile cases.

“It is a cumbersome process to have everything videographed. Upon that, investigators have to submit a copy of the digital record to the court, and they have to maintain one copy,” a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP)-rank officer told DH.

Budget hurdle

Another DCP said: “The budget required to follow all this is another major hurdle. The police are still unsure about these aspects.”

Training, assessment

For the last four months, policemen in the state are undergoing focused and intensive training programmes to make them understand the new laws.

In the first phase, senior officers — Superintendents of Police (SPs), Deputy Superintendents of Police (DySPs) and Inspectors — were trained. Then, master trainers were identified among them and deputed to train other officials at the sub-division and station level.

Orientation camps were held at Karnataka Police Academy in Mysuru and law experts were roped in.

“In the central range, an online training programme was held to introduce every official from the ranks of the constable to the SP to these new laws, particularly on the major changes and new additions. Every Sunday, during the general roll call, trainings were held. Also, a board with major changes in the three laws has been put up at each police station, so that officials remain aware,” IGP Gowda said, adding that examinations were also held to assess how officials understood new laws.

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Published 01 July 2024, 02:53 IST

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