Criminal Law Bills

On 21-12-2023, during the winter session, the Rajya Sabha passed the three Criminal Bills namely, the Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill, 2023, Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita (BNS) 2023, and the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita (BNSS) 2023 which aimed at revamping the Indian criminal justice system of India and replace the colonial-era Evidence Act, 1872; Penal Code, 1860; and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Earlier, the bills were passed by the Lok Sabha on 20-12-2023 when around 141 Member of Parliament were suspended from both the houses.

Previously, the Central Government had withdrawn the originally introduced three criminal bills, namely, the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023, Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) 2023, and the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) 2023 and introduced the second version of the bills after incorporating the amendments and alterations suggested by the Parliamentary Standing Committee, chaired by Brij Lal, member of Rajya Sabha.

Key highlights of Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita (BNS) 2023:

  1. Defines and adds terrorism as an offence.

  2. Community service has been added as a form of punishment.

  3. Sedition as an offence has been removed with provision on endangering the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.

  4. Organised crime has been added as an offence, including offence such as kidnapping, extortion, contract killing, land grabbing, financial scams, and cybercrime carried out on behalf of a crime syndicate.

  5. Mob lynching has been introduced as an offence.

Key highlights of Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill, 2023:

  1. Classification of electronic records as documents and includes information stored in semiconductor memory or any communication devices.

  2. Introduction of electronic oral evidence.

  3. Comprehensive certificate for submitting electronic evidence.

  4. Secondary evidence to include- oral and written admissions, and the testimony of a person who has examined the document and is skilled to examine the documents.

Key highlights of Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita (BNSS) 2023:

  1. 15 days of police custody, with part authorisation during the initial 40 or 60 days of the 60 or 90 days period of judicial custody.

  2. Allows the use of handcuffs by police officers in certain cases.

  3. Any police officer can request a medical examination of the accused in certain cases, including rape cases.

  4. The Magistrate can order any person to provide finger impressions and voice samples.

Buy Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973  HERE

Code of Criminal Procedure

Buy Penal Code, 1860   HERE

penal code, 1860

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