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Former DGPs, CPs in Maharashtra back new set of criminal laws

The three new laws, passed in 2023 by the Parliament, came into force from 1 July, 2024.
Last Updated : 02 July 2024, 09:30 IST

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Mumbai: In what comes as a boost for the new set of criminal laws that have come into effect, former Director Generals of Police (DGPs) of Maharashtra, Commissioners of Police (CPs) of Mumbai, and police top brass have backed the new legislations, saying that they will go a long way in dispensing justice in the emerging scenarios.

The three new laws—Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA)—replace three archaic colonial-era statutes, namely, the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), and Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (1 of 1872).

The laws, passed in 2023 by the Parliament, came into force from 1 July, 2024.

Maharashtra DGP Rashmi Shukla, the first woman to occupy the post, said that the three new criminal laws are a transformation from giving a penalty to the accused to ensuring justice to the victim.

Police officer A N Roy, who had served as Mumbai CP and Maharashtra DGP, said that the new law takes a victim-centric approach compared to the British-era laws. “The provisions of BNS provide timely justice to women and children with increased punishments in these cases. It introduces digital, electronic evidence reviews along with more focus on national security. The legal provisions are clearly citizen-friendly and enable timely justice,” said Roy, who headed the state police force during the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai and had handled terror cases in the past.

Former Mumbai CP and ex-Maharashtra DGP Sanjeev Dayal, who was part of the committee that recommended bringing victimology to the centre of the criminal justice system, said the three new laws are a welcome change from the colonial past. “They bring necessary emphasis on crime against women reflecting concerns on rape, molestation, and child trafficking. The use of scientific aids to investigation should help in securing better conviction,” said Dayal, who had also served with the Special Protection Group (SPG) from 1995 to 2002 and was responsible for the security of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his historic visit to Pakistan.

Former IPS officer Datta Padsalgikar said the provision in BSA on digital evidence will help the agencies in fixing culpability of a cyber-criminal. “It will also ensure that digital evidence is handled with the same level of scrutiny and reliability as other evidence,” said Padsalgikar, who is a former Mumbai CP and former Maharashtra DGP, with a big period of service in the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

Former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Subodh Jaiswal, who had worked as Mumbai CP and Maharashtra DGP, said the new laws represent a tectonic shift towards a people-centric approach to justice. "This will ensure justice is served rightly, timely, and swiftly. The Indian criminal justice system is now more victim-friendly and justice-oriented, a transformation achieved through extensive deliberation. Additionally, these new laws will address the challenges arising due to cyber-enabled crimes,” said Jaiswal, who had also served as Director General of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

Former SPG Director M R Reddy, who is from the Maharashtra cadre, said the new laws will bring a paradigm shift in enforcing scientific investigation and speeding up the disposal of cases.

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Published 02 July 2024, 09:30 IST

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