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India to revamp criminal laws from July 1 with three new acts

  • The new laws replace outdated colonial-era statutes to better align with contemporary needs
  • Significant changes in the numbering and classification of various criminal offenses
  • The new laws will come into effect from July 1, 2024

17 Jun 2024
India to revamp criminal laws from July 1 with three new acts

From July 1, India will replace its colonial-era criminal laws with three new legislations: the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Act. These laws aim to modernize and overhaul the country’s criminal justice system.

The new laws, approved by Parliament on December 21 and signed by President Droupadi Murmu on December 25, will replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Indian Evidence Act, which have been in place since 1860 and 1872 respectively. This transition is seen as a significant step towards updating India’s legal framework to better reflect contemporary societal values and needs.

Key changes include the renumbering of sections and the introduction of new provisions. For instance, the punishment for murder, previously under Section 302 of the IPC, will now be under Section 101 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita. The new Section 302 will address snatching instead. Other notable changes include the reclassification of cheating, illegal assembly, and sedition under new section numbers.

Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud commented that these changes reflect India's progress and adaptation to modern legal standards.

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