“Shaping the Future: India’s New Judicial Bills and Their Significance”

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India's New Judicial Bills
(Image Source: architecturaldigest) India’s New Judicial Bills

This week, the Indian government introduced three new bills in Parliament. They stated that these bills would reform our current judicial system. The current judicial system will undergo major changes once the bills become law.

What are the Bills?

Amit Shah has presented three new bills that aim to reform the British-era criminal justice system. The IPC (Indian Penal Code) of 1860 will be replaced by the Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita. The CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code) of 1973 will be replaced by the Bhartiya Nagarik Suraksha Bill. The Indian Evidence Act of 1872 will be replaced by the Bhartiya Sakshya Bill.

Was it Necessary?

It is evident that the current judicial system is in need of significant reforms. Lengthy and unclear police investigations are major issues. The courts currently have a heavy workload. There are over 50 million cases pending in our courts due to the delayed justice system, often referred to as “Justice delayed is Justice Denied.” Therefore, it was evident that reforms were needed in our judicial system.

What is IPC?

The Indian Penal Code was enacted by Thomas Babington Macaulay in 1862. It covers all substantive aspects of criminal law. Each crime is thoroughly explained within it. It defines all punishable offenses and applies to all Indian citizens.

What is CrPC?

The Criminal Procedure Code came into effect on April 1, 1974. It is a type of procedural law that follows the IPC. It provides a detailed procedure for punishments under the penal law.

What’s the Indian Evidence Act?

It came into effect in 1872 and provides rules for admissible evidence in Indian courts. In simpler terms, it determines what can be considered as evidence.

Was the Government’s introduction of these bills sudden?

Last year, on the occasion of our country’s 76th Independence Day, PM Modi took the pledge of “Panch Pran of Amrit Kaal.” Under the Second Pran, he mentioned that his government would take measures to remove any traces of a colonial mindset. Additionally, in the parliament, Home Minister Amit Shah mentioned that the government had discussed the laws for four years and had conducted over 158 meetings. Furthermore, 18 states, 6 Union Territories, the Supreme Court of India, 22 High Courts, judicial institutions, 142 Parliamentarians, and 270 MLAs provided suggestions about the law. Thus, the government had been working on these reforms for a considerable period.

What are the New Laws?

Amit Shah stated that the government has repealed the controversial Sedition Law, which was frequently used by the British against nationalists. This law has been renamed and now falls under Section 150, which can also impose life imprisonment. New laws have been introduced for mob lynching, including the possibility of a death sentence. Laws have also been proposed for terrorism, corruption, organized crime, and hate speech. The new bills allow people to file a police complaint at any police station across the country. Police officials are required to videograph search and seizure operations. Courts are mandated to deliver judgments within 30 days after hearings, and chargesheets must be filed within 90 days. The bills also address issues like love jihad and propose death sentences for rapes involving minors.

Challenges and Criticism

Amit Shah stated that their intention is to deliver justice, not just punishment. However, there are several challenges with the new bills. The clauses of the penal law have been reorganized. For example, crimes that were previously punishable under Section 302 will now fall under Clause 101. This adjustment poses a challenge for both the police and the courts. To expedite judgments, courts need to be computerized, a plan the government aims to implement by 2027. Implementing a system where crimes and FIRs can be filed at any police station requires coordination between different police stations. Additionally, for faster trials, a streamlined process is needed to ensure swift justice.

However, MK Stalin, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, criticized the new bills, stating that the government wants to impose Hindi on South Indians. He questioned the use of Hindi in the names of the bills, labeling it a form of recolonization under the guise of decolonization. According to him, Hindi colonization is unacceptable. It will be interesting to observe how the new bills shape the judicial system and reform the process of justice.

Article Credit: Skywalker

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