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CrPC and Evidence Act: Times Have Changed

CRPC and Evidence Act: Times Have Changed

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Times have changed, and so has the nature of crimes. However, the laws that were devised in that era have become outdated. The old laws of the British era are not working effectively with the kind of crimes happening now. That is why the central government has brought new laws. The old laws which were inforce till now have been changed and new laws are introduced in place of the Indian Penal Code, 1880, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, and the Criminal Procedure Code-1973. The central government is prepared to implement these new laws—Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya—with effect from July 1.

The crimes of the modern time cannot be regulated by the laws of a century ago. So, renovation occurred to the old laws, and they were remade altogether. Many amendments have been made to the new laws according to the present condition, and the provisions that are not required have been deleted. The regulations and important sections updated with new laws.

The central government has brought an altogether new law in place of the Indian Penal Code. It has also introduced minor crimes like petty cases within this law. The state has enhanced the punishments for various crimes like anti-women, anti-children, murder, and anti-national acts. The Act has envisaged equal punishment for both sexes in some crimes. Punishments are made more stringent to prevent organised crimes, terrorist activities and insurgency. It envisions stringent action against armed rebellion, vandalism, separatism, and any actions against the sovereignty and unity of the country. The fines and punishments for some crimes have been enhanced.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita-2023 was introduced in the Lok Sabha by the government on August 11 last year after some amendments to old laws. Thereafter, including the recommendations of the Standing Committee, the government re-presented the bill in the Lok Sabha on December 12, 2023. The President gave assent on December 25, 2023.

Indeed many provisions of IPC continue in Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023. A new punishment-community service is provided for in the code. New Code treats terrorism as crime. This would also include terrorist attacks on people. Kidnapping, extortion, cybercrimes committed for crime syndicates, organised crimes fall within the ambit of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita. Where five or more persons are killed over issues pertaining to caste, language, or personal identity, the accused shall, upon conviction, be awarded life imprisonment or death sentence.

The age of criminal liability is the same, seven years. Still, on the basis of the mental condition of the child who has committed the crime, this can be extended to twelve years. Different age limits are there for incidents like rape and gang rape. The provisions in IPC related to rape and sexual harassment have been continued as it is in this law.

It is also an offence under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita to attack a particular community. If a person dies in such attacks, the concerned may get life imprisonment or the death penalty and fines. The central government increases punishments corresponding to the seriousness of crimes. If a person causes a person’s death, he shall be punished with fine up to Rs. 10 lakhs in addition to the death penalty or life imprisonment.

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