Home Minister Amit Shah introduces 3 bills to reform criminal justice system: Key points

Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday introduced three bills in Lok Sabha to replace the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and the Indian Evidence Act, asserting the proposed laws will transform the country’s criminal justice system and bring the spirit to protect the rights of citizen at the centre stage.

Introducing the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) Bill, 2023; Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) Bill, 2023; and Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023, he said that the changes were made to provide speedy justice and for creating a legal system on par with contemporary needs and aspirations of the people.

Here are the major points mentioned by the Home Minister in his speech in the Lok Sabha:

– The aim of the laws is not to punish, but to provide justice. Punishment will be given to create a sentiment of stopping crime.

– The Whole procedure, right from filing an FIR to case diary, charge sheet and getting judgment will be digitized.

– Forensic sciences will be in focus. A visit by a forensic team to a crime scene will be mandatory if the crime entails a punishment of seven years or more.

– Three mobile forensic science Laboratories will be present in every district.

– The aim is to take the conviction rate up to 90 per cent.

– All courts in the country will be computerised by 2027.

– For the first time, filing e-FIRs will be possible.

– A zero FIR of an incident can be registered in any police station. The complaint will be sent to the police station concerned within 15 days.

– Every district will have a police official who will give a certificate to the family of those arrested that they are responsible for the arrested person. Information will have to be provided both online, and personally.

– In case of incidents of sexual violence, the statement of the victim and video recording will be compulsory.

– Police will have to provide a status update on a case within 90 days.

– No government will be able to withdraw a case entailing punishment of seven years imprisonment or more without hearing the victim. This will protect citizen’s rights.

– Community service is being introduced as a punishment for the first time.

– To stop delays in cases, changes have been made. For cases entailing less than three years of imprisonment, a summary trial will be enough. This will reduce cases in session courts by 40 per cent.

– Charge sheets will have to be filed within 90 days. A court can extend it for another 90 days. A probe will have to be finished in 180 days and should be sent for trial.

– After trial, judgment will have to be given in 30 days. It will have to be uploaded online within a week.

– For filing complaints against civil servants, authorities concerned will have to give or deny permission within 120 days. If a response is not received, it will be deemed to be a yes.

– A provision has been added for compensation through the properties of a declared criminal.

– Provision has been made stricter for punishment in case of organized crime and international gangs.

– Sexual exploitation of women on the pretext of marriage, job, promotions or by hiding identity will be considered a crime.

– For gang rape, there is a provision for punishment of 20 years imprisonment or life in jail.

– Provision for death sentence for raping minors.

– For mob lynching, there will be provisions for seven years of imprisonment, life imprisonment and death sentence.

– A new provision has been added for snatching.

– Crime against children will entail a 10-year jail term as punishment. Penalties have also been increased.

– To stop political use of punishment waivers by governments, a new provision has been made that death sentences can only be converted to life imprisonment and life imprisonment can be pardoned only within seven years of punishment. This is to ensure those with political influence do not escape the law.

– Sedition law will be completely repealed. “This is democracy, everyone has the right to speak,” Shah said.

– Previously, there was no definition of terrorism. For the first time, terrorism is being defined.

– Trial to be allowed without criminals if he or she has been declared absconding. It would make trials of criminals like Dawood Ibrahim possible.

– Vehicles don’t have to be kept till the end of the case once videography is done.

– There will be an overhaul of the criminal justice system and everyone will get justice in a maximum of three years. 

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