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Lok Sabha: Three New Bills Introduced By Home Minister Amit Shah; Section On Sedation Law To Be Scrapped

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Image Source: The New Indian Express

Three new bills presented on Friday in the Lok Sabha by Union Home Minister Amit Shah will remove the Indian Evidence Act, the British-era Indian Penal Code, and the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023, proposes ten years in prison for engaging in sexual activity with a woman under false pretences of marriage as well as the death penalty as the highest penalty for mob lynchings.

The Bill, however, states that “sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under eighteen years of age, is not rape.”

During the Lok Sabha session, Mr Shah stated that the sedition clause has been removed. According to Mr Shah, the Bill “defines for the first-time terrorism and offences such as separatism, armed rebellion against the government, and challenging the sovereignty of the country,” which were previously mentioned under different provisions of law. He also said that property confiscation would be carried out on the court’s orders.

Lok Sabha

Image For Representation

He claimed that fugitive criminals such as Dawood Ibrahim will face judicial proceedings in their absence and receive sentences. According to Mr Shah, the proposed 313 revisions will completely alter the criminal justice system.

Mr Shah introduced the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) Bill, 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS) Bill, 2023 and Bharatiya Sakshya (BS) Bill, 2023 that will replace the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Criminal Procedure Act, 1898, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 respectively. He said the changes were done to provide speedy justice and create a legal system that keeps the contemporary needs and aspirations of the people. He asked that the legislation be forwarded to the home affairs standing committee of the parliamentary body in the Lok Sabha.

During the Lok Sabha session, he stated that in cases of sexual violence against women, the video-recording of statements of survivors has been made compulsory. Mr. Shah said, “Marrying or making sexual relations with a woman by deception, by giving wrong credentials has been brought in as a separate category of crime,” the Minister said. He said police have to inform about the status of a complaint in 90 days; if a case punishable by seven years or more is to be withdrawn, then before doing so, the police must consult the victim. He said community service is being introduced for specific crimes.

Lok Sabha

Image Source: The Economic Times

“The maximum limit of 180 days has been fixed to file a chargesheet. The police cannot take an indefinite plea that the investigation is on. Police will get 90 days to file chargesheet; another 90 days can be granted by court, but it cannot exceed that,” he said.

He said in the Lok Sabha that the government of the day would have to decide on prosecution sanctions against police officers and civil servants within 120 days. Otherwise, it will be deemed permitted.

“It is often seen that retired police officers are called by courts to record evidence; we have decided that the SP (Superintendent of Police) presently holding charge will present facts before the court after going through files. This is a revolutionary change; such cases were delaying trial as the officer concerned was busy in a field visit,” the Minister said in the Lok Sabha.

lok sabha

Image Source: Vidhikarya

He said videography of search and seizure is being made compulsory, and a chargesheet won’t be accepted without it. “The conviction rate is presently low; we aim to take it to 90%, forensic collection of evidence compulsory in all crimes punishable by seven years,” Mr Shah said.

He said a police officer will be designated in each police station who will certify to the relatives of an accused that they are in police custody. “Many times, police catches suspects and keeps them in illegal custody for days. The information will have to be provided online and physically mode both,” the Minister said.

Also Read: Digital Personal Data Protection Bill Heads To Lok Sabha | Here’s What You Need To Know

“So that a person with political clout does not get the advantage of rules on remission of sentence, like we saw in Bihar, we have decided that death sentence can only be remitted to life sentence, life sentence can be remitted only up to seven years, seven years imprisonment can be waived off only up to three years. People with political clout will not be spared,” the Minister said in the Lok Sabha.

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