Criminal justice in India is majorly governed by three laws which are – Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Indian Evidence Act. The centre, on 11th August 2023’ Friday, proposes a new bill in parliament Friday, which is replacing the country’s major criminal laws, i.e. Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Indian Evidence Act.
The following three bills are being proposed to replace major criminal laws in the country:
- The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023 to replace Indian Penal Code 1860.
- The Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023, to replace The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
- The Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023, to replace The Indian Evidence Act 1872.
Cyber law-oriented view of the new shift in criminal law
|Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023
|Indian Penal Code 1860.
|There are a total of 356 sections in the new bill.||There are a total of 511 sections in the old IPC.|
|In the new bill, section 76 provides for Voyeurism, and section 77 a provision for stalking.
Section 317 provides for Cheating by personation.
|In the old IPC, section 354C provides for voyeurism, and section 354D outlines the provision of stalking.
In the old IPC, section 416 deals with Cheating by personation.
|The Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023||The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
|There are a total of 533 Sections in the new bill.||There are a total of 484 Sections in the old Cr.pc.|
|The new bill incorporates provisions for the use of electronic means in the court system through various sections. Such as;
● Section 64 provides that summons can also be served in electronic mode.
● Section 105 provides for the recording of search and seizure through audio-video electronic means.
● Section 173 provides that every information relating to the commission of a cognisable offence may be given orally or also by electronic communication.
● Under section 176, there is a new proviso which states that statements made under this sub-section may also be recorded through any audio-video electronic means, preferably cell phone.
● Section 227 proviso states that summons or warrants may also be issued through electronic means.
● Section 532 provides for trial and proceedings to be held in electronic mode.
|Under Cr.pc 1973, such aspects of recognition or use of electronic means were not covered. However, there were some state amendments which incorporated the use of electronic means in certain aspects, such as recording statements, but there are no centralised provisions in the old Cr.PC, which broadly facilitates the use of electronic means in the court system.
|Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023||The Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
|There are a total of 170 Sections in the new bill.||There are a total of 167 Sections in the old Evidence Act.|
|In the new bill, section 61 deals with the admissibility of electronic or digital records and section 62 provides for special provisions as to evidence relating to electronic records.
|In the old evidence act, Section 65A provides special provisions as to evidence relating to electronic records. And section 65B deals with the admissibility of electronic records.|
Way ahead for digitalisation
The new laws aim to enhance the utilisation of digital services in court systems, it facilitates online registration of FIR, Online filing of the charge sheet, serving summons in electronic mode, trial and proceedings in electronic mode etc. The new bills also allow the virtual appearance of witnesses, accused, experts, and victims in some instances. This shift will lead to the adoption of technology in courts and all courts to be computerised in the upcoming time.
Enhanced recognition of electronic records
With the change in lifestyle in terms of the digital sphere, significance is given to recognising electronic records as equal to paper records.
The criminal laws of the country play a significant role in establishing law & order and providing justice. The criminal laws of India were the old laws existing under British rule. There have been several amendments to criminal laws to deal with the growing crimes and new aspects. However, there was a need for well-established criminal laws which are in accordance with the present era. The step of the legislature by centralising all criminal laws in their new form and introducing three bills is a good approach which will ultimately strengthen the criminal justice system in India, and it will also facilitate the use of technology in the court system.
- THE BHARATIYA NYAYA SANHITA, 2023
- THE BHARATIYA NAGARIK SURAKSHA SANHITA, 2023
- THE BHARTIYA SAKSHYA BILL, 2023-
Author: Mr. Neeraj Soni, Intern – Policy and Advocacy, CyberPeace