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Lok Sabha passes Bills to replace British-era criminal laws

Why is it in the news?

  • Lok Sabha has approved three bills, namely Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill (BNS), Bharatiya Sakshya Bill (BS), and Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill (BNSS), aimed at replacing outdated British-era criminal laws, introducing significant reforms in the Indian legal framework.

About Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill (BNS)

  • Replaces Indian Penal Code, 1860.
  • The bill retains most offences from the IPC and introduces community service as a form of punishment.
  • Sedition is eliminated as an offence and replaced with a new offence for acts endangering the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of India.
  • For the first time, the bill defines terrorism and adds it as a separate offence in general criminal law. Terrorism is defined as an act that intends to threaten the unity, integrity, security, or economic security of the country.
  • Introduces capital punishment for the offence of mob lynching.

About Bharatiya Sakshya Bill (BS)

  • Replaces Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
  • The bill retains the distinction between primary (original documents) and secondary (that proves the contents of the original) evidence.
  • Classifies electronic records, including information stored in semiconductor memory or communication devices, as primary evidence.
  • Expands secondary evidence to include oral and written admissions and the testimony of a person skilled in examining documents.

 About Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill (BNSS)

  • Replaces Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC).
  • The bill mandates forensic investigation for offences punishable with seven years of imprisonment or more.
  • All trials, inquiries, and proceedings may be held in electronic mode.
  • If a proclaimed offender has absconded to evade trial and there is no immediate prospect of arresting him, the trial can be conducted, and judgment pronounced in his absence.

The bill permits police custody of up to 90 days as against the 15-day custody allowed till now.

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