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New criminal justice laws to be rolled out across India from July 1

The laws will replace the colonial-era Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 respectively.
Last Updated 24 February 2024, 09:30 IST

New Delhi: The new Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and Bharatiya Sakshya Act will come into effect on July 1, pushing colonial era Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act into oblivion. 

However, the section 106(2) of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita related to cases of hit and run will not be implemented, as promised to truckers who had protested against it.

The gazette notifications were issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Saturday. Parliament had passed the three Bills on December 21 last year and President Droupadi Murmu gave her assent on December 25. 

Officials said adequate training will be given to police and judicial officials to keep pace with the change in laws. Lawyers will also have to keep themselves abreast with the changes in the codes.

The government had argued that the new laws will completely overhaul the criminal justice system in the country by getting rid of colonial hangovers.

"In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 1 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 (45 of 2023), the central government hereby appoints the 1st day of July, 2024 as the date on which the provisions of the said Sanhita, except the provision of sub-section (2) of section 106, shall come into force," one of the notifications said.

The Section 106(2) of Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita had attracted trouble after truckers protested against the provision which provides for 10 years imprisonment and fine to those who causes death of any person by rash and negligent driving of vehicle not amounting to culpable homicide, and escapes without reporting it to a police officer.

After truckers went on strike, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla had said the decision to invoke Section 106 (2) of the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita will be taken only after consultation with the All India Motor Transport Congress.

The Section 106 (2) of the BNS said, "whoever causes death of any person by rash and negligent driving of vehicle not amounting to culpable homicide, and escapes without reporting it to a police officer or a magistrate soon after the incident, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description of a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine."

Home Minister Amit Shah has said that focus is on delivering justice rather than handing down the punishment. The laws have given a clear definition of terrorism while abolishing sedition as a crime and introduced a new section titled "offences against the state".

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita lists offences such as acts of secession, armed rebellion, subversive activities, separatist activities or endangering the sovereignty or unity in the new avatar of the sedition law.

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(Published 24 February 2024, 09:30 IST)

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