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Changes in the new Criminal Laws UPSC

Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) - Replacing Indian Penal Code:

  1. Definitions:

  • Definition of "Child" added.

  • Inclusion of transgender individuals under the expanded definition of "gender."

  • Broadening the scope of "document" to include electronic records.

  1. New Chapters:

  • Introduction of a chapter addressing offenses against women and children.

  • Inclusion of a chapter on "inchoate offenses," covering attempts, abetment, and conspiracy.

  1. New Offenses:

  • Addition of offenses related to organized crime, terrorism, petty organized crime, hit-and-run incidents, mob lynching, child recruitment for offenses, sexual exploitation, and dissemination of fake news.

  1. Punishment Reforms:

  • Decriminalization of attempted suicide.

  • Introduction of community service as an alternative punishment for minor thefts.

Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) - Replacing Code of Criminal Procedure:

  1. Proclaimed Offenders:

  • Scope of declaring proclaimed offender increased. Earlier only 19 offences were included which did not include rape cases. Now all offences with punishment for 10 years or more included.

  1. Arrest:

  • Requirement of senior officer approval for offenses punishable with less than three years of imprisonment.

  • Preliminary Inquiry introduced in offences punishable from 3 years to less than 7 years

  1. Custody:

  • 15 days police custody is allowed for the first 40/60 days of the detention period and this will not be a ground for refusal of bail

  1. Trial:

  • Introduction of in-absentia trials. - In-absentia trials: Legal proceedings held while the defendant is not physically present.

  • Inclusion of electronic First Information Reports (FIRs) and preliminary inquiries.

  • Establishment of a witness protection scheme.

  1. Bail:

  • Simplified bail process.

  • Early release provisions for first-time undertrials.

  • Relaxed punishment for first-time offenders in plea bargaining (one-fourth and one-sixth of such punishment).

  • Simplification of bail rules for individuals acquitted.

  1. Procedural Reforms:

  • Implementation of timelines for various procedures.

  • Introduction of audio-video recording for evidence and proceedings.

  • Establishment of witness protection measures.

  • Definition of ‘victim’ expanded, police officer to inform victim/informant about progress in probe

Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSB) - Replacing Indian Evidence Act:

  1. Electronic Records:

  • Acceptance of electronic records as evidence with stricter standards.

  1. Electronic Statements:

  • Recognition of electronic statements as valid evidence.

  1. Secondary Evidence:

  • Expansion of types of secondary evidence, including oral/written admissions and expert analysis.

  1. Spousal Testimony:

  • Permission for spousal testimony in certain criminal cases against a spouse.

  1. Accomplice Testimony:

  • Possibility of conviction based on accomplice testimony with corroboration.

  1. Electronic Evidence Submission:

  • Streamlined process for the submission of electronic evidence with a comprehensive certificate.

New Criminal Laws

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Changes in the new Criminal Laws UPSC

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