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New criminal laws to be rolled out on July 1

Provision on Hit-&-run cases put on hold

New criminal laws to be rolled out on July 1


Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 24

Three new criminal laws — Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita and Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Act — will come into effect on July 1, the government announced on Saturday. The three laws will replace the colonial-era Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act.

The three laws were passed by Parliament and President Droupadi Murmu gave her assent in December 2023.

According to three identical notifications issued by the Union Home Ministry, provisions of the new laws will come into force from July 1.

The three legislations aim to completely overhaul the criminal justice system in the country by giving definitions of various offences and their punishments. “In exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-section (3) of Section 1 of the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 (46 of 2023), the central government hereby appoints the 1st day of July, 2024 as the date on which the provisions of the sanhita, except the provisions of the entry relating to Section 106(2) of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, shall come into force,” said a notification by the Home Ministry.

Incidentally the contentious Section 106(2), which provides for a punishment of up to 10 years in hit-and-run incidents, has been put on hold. This has been done as transporters across the country had gone on a strike against the provision earlier this year. Currently, under Section 304A of the IPC, the punishment for causing death by negligence is two years’ imprisonment and fine, or both.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, in its revised form, includes offences like acts of secession, armed rebellion, subversive activities, separatist activities or endangering the sovereignty or unity.

Notably, the sedition law now explicitly defines acts of terrorism, a term absent in the previous Indian Penal Code. The new legislations also grant magistrates increased authority to impose fines and broaden the scope of declaring someone a proclaimed offender.

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