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Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, Check Complete Details

The three New Criminal LawsBharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023, will come into force July 1, 2024. The government of India has held regular meetings with States and Union Territories and they are fully geared up in terms of technology, capacity building and awareness generation to implement the new Criminal Laws. 

What is Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023?

  • The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) is the official criminal code in the Republic of India. It came into effect on 1 July, 2024 after being passed by the parliament in December 2023 to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which dated back to the period of British India.
  • Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita has 358 sections (instead of 511 sections of IPC). A total of 20 new crimes have been added to the Sanhita, and the imprisonment sentence has been increased for 33 crimes. The amount of fine has been increased in 83 crimes and mandatory minimum punishment has been introduced in 23 crimes.

Offences included in Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023

In the Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita, 20 new offences have been added to and 19 provisions in the repealed IPC have been dropped. The punishment of imprisonment has been increased for 33 offences, and fines have been increased for 83 offences. A mandatory minimum punishment has been introduced for 23 offences. A sentence of community service has been introduced for six offences.

  • Offences against the body: The BNS retains the provisions of the IPC on murder, abetment of suicide, assault and causing grievous hurt. It adds new offences such as organised crime, terrorism, and murder or grievous hurt by a group on certain grounds.
  • Sexual offences against women: The BNS retains the provisions of the IPC on rape, voyeurism, stalking and insulting the modesty of a woman. It increases the threshold for the victim to be classified as a major, in the case of gang rape, from 16 to 18 years of age.
  • Offences against property: The BNS retains the provisions of the IPC on theft, robbery, burglary and cheating. It adds new offences such as cybercrime and financial fraud.
  • Offences against the state: The BNS removes sedition as an offence. Instead, there is a new offence for acts endangering India’s sovereignty, unity and integrity.
  • Offences against the public: The BNS adds new offences such as environmental pollution and human trafficking.

Highlight of The New Criminal Law

1. Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 will replace the IPC. It will have 358 sections instead of the earlier 511 sections, 175 sections have been changed, 8 new sections have been added and 22 sections have been repealed.

2. State-of-the-art technologies have been incorporated into this law. The definition of documents has been expanded to include electronic or digital records, e-mails, server logs, computers, smartphones, laptops, SMS, websites, locational evidence, mail and messages available on devices, which can be used in courts, which will give freedom from the pile of papers.

3. A provision has been made in this law to digitise the entire process from FIR to case diary, case diary to charge sheet and from charge sheet to judgment. At present, only the appearance of the accused in court can be done through video conferencing.

4. The new laws make videography compulsory at the time of search and seizure, which will be part of the case and this will save the innocent citizens from being implicated. No charge sheet will be valid without such recording by the police.

5. The Government will set up the National Forensic Science University which after three years will produce 33,000 forensic science experts and scientists every year. The government aims to take the conviction ratio above 90% with these laws. For this, an important provision has been provided which will make the visit of the forensic team to the crime scene compulsory for offences punishable for 7 years or more.

6. The new laws also allow ‘Zero FIR’ (e-FIR) to ensure the convenience of the citizens. Wherever the crime may have happened, the citizens will be able tolodge complaints even outside of their police station area. Within 15 days of the registration of the crime, it will have to be forwarded to the concerned police station.

7. The statement of the victim has been made compulsory in the case of sexual violence and video recording of the statement has also been made compulsory in the case of sexual harassment. It will be compulsory for the police to give the status of the complaint to the complainant in 90 days and thereafter every 15 days. No government will be able to withdraw a case of imprisonment of 7 years or more without hearing the victim, which will protect the rights of the citizens.

8. For the first time, the government is bringing community service as a punishment. The scope of summary trials in small cases has also been increased. Now offenses punishable up to 3 years will be included in summary trial. A time limit of 90 days has been fixed for filing the charge sheet and depending on the situation, the court will be able to give permission for a further 90 days.

9. The government will have to decide on the permission for trial against a civil servant or police officer in 120 days, otherwise, it will be treated as deemed.

10. For the first time, a provision has been made to criminalise sexual intercourse on the basis of false promises of marriage, employment and promotion and on the basis of false identity. In all cases of gang rape, a provision of 20 years of punishment or life imprisonment has been made, which is not being implemented today. In the case of girls below 18 years of age, a provision of the death penalty has also been kept. For mob lynching, all three provisions of 7 years, life imprisonment and the death penalty have been kept. There was no provision for mobile phones or chain snatching from women, but now provision has been kept for the same.

Difference between The New Criminal Law and Old Law

Aspect Old Law (Indian Penal Code, 1860) New Law (Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023)
Introduction Date 1860 2023
Colonial Influence Drafted during British colonial rule Drafted in post-independence India, reflecting modern values
Language and Terminology Archaic English Simplified and modernized language
Structure 511 sections Revised structure, includes new sections
Offenses against the State Sections on sedition, less emphasis on national security Stronger focus on national security, cybercrimes, terrorism
Sexual Offenses Outdated definitions, limited recognition of modern crimes Expanded definitions, includes cyberstalking, digital harassment
Gender Neutrality Certain sections gender-specific More gender-neutral provisions
Cybercrimes Minimal references Comprehensive sections on cybercrimes
Punishments Traditional forms of punishment Updated punishments, includes alternative sentencing
Restorative Justice Limited provisions Emphasis on restorative justice and victim compensation
Corruption and Bribery General provisions Detailed provisions to address modern forms of corruption
Economic Offenses Basic definitions Expanded to include financial frauds, money laundering
Defamation Criminal defamation included Modified to align with freedom of speech considerations
Adultery Criminal offense Decriminalized
Homosexuality Criminalized under Section 377 Decriminalized following the Supreme Court judgment
Blasphemy Strict provisions More balanced approach respecting freedom of religion
Marital Rape Not recognized Recognized and criminalized
Implementation Mechanism Traditional methods Modernized with emphasis on technology and forensic science
Juvenile Justice Separate act (Juvenile Justice Act, 2015) Integrated approach with special provisions
Reform Focus Punitive Emphasis on rehabilitation and reform


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