Major Legal Overhaul: New Criminal Laws Effective July 1st-

Starting July 1st, India will see a significant transformation in its criminal justice system with the implementation of three new laws: the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam. These laws replace the outdated Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and Indian Evidence Act, marking a move away from colonial-era legislation.

new 3 criminal laws

Here are the 10 key changes you need to know:

  1. Speedy Justice:  Criminal case judgments must be delivered within 45 days after the trial concludes, and charges must be framed within 60 days of the first hearing. This aims to expedite the judicial process and ensure timely justice. Additionally, all state governments are required to implement witness protection schemes to safeguard witnesses’ cooperation and safety.
  2. Support for Rape Victims: Statements from rape victims will now be recorded by a female police officer, in the presence of the victim’s guardian or a relative, to provide a supportive environment. Moreover, medical reports must be completed within seven days, ensuring a swift response.
  3. Protection for Women and Children: A new chapter in the law specifically addresses crimes against women and children. Buying or selling a child is now classified as a heinous crime, punishable by severe penalties. In cases of gang rape of a minor, the punishment can be as severe as a death sentence or life imprisonment.
  4. Abandonment and False Promises: The laws now include punishments for cases where women are abandoned after being misled by false promises of marriage, addressing a significant social issue.
  5. Victim Rights: Victims of crimes against women are entitled to receive regular updates on their cases within 90 days. Additionally, all hospitals are required to provide free first aid or medical treatment to victims of crimes against women and children, ensuring they receive necessary care without delay.
  6. Transparency in Proceedings: Both the accused and the victim are entitled to copies of the FIR, police report, charge sheet, statements, confessions, and other documents within 14 days. To prevent unnecessary delays, courts are allowed a maximum of two adjournments per case.
  7. Digital Reporting: Incidents can now be reported via electronic communication, eliminating the need to visit a police station. The introduction of Zero FIR allows individuals to file a First Information Report at any police station, regardless of jurisdiction, making the process more accessible.
  8. Rights of the Arrested: An arrested person has the right to inform someone of their choice about their situation, enabling immediate support. Arrest details will be prominently displayed in police stations and district headquarters, ensuring easy access for families and friends.
  9. Mandatory Forensic Involvement: For serious offences, it is now mandatory for forensic experts to visit crime scenes and collect evidence, enhancing the quality of investigations.
  10. Inclusive Definition of Gender: The definition of “gender” now includes transgender individuals. For certain offences against women, victim statements should be recorded by a woman magistrate when possible, promoting a more inclusive and sensitive approach.

These comprehensive reforms aim to enhance the efficiency, transparency, and inclusivity of India’s criminal justice system. The changes reflect a commitment to addressing contemporary issues and ensuring justice for all citizens.

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