On August 11, 2023, the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita of 2023 was presented in the Lok Sabha. This proposed legislation aims to replace the existing Indian Penal Code of 1860 (IPC), which currently serves as the primary legal framework for criminal offenses in India. The IPC covers a wide range of offenses falling into various categories, including:
Under the new bill, certain aspects of the IPC will be retained. Noteworthy modifications include the introduction of provisions targeting organized crime and terrorism. Additionally, penalties for certain existing offenses will be heightened, aiming to ensure a more effective deterrence against these crimes. A novel dimension is the incorporation of community service as a punitive measure for specific minor offenses, reflecting a broader spectrum of corrective measures.
Furthermore, the proposed legislation omits several sections from the IPC that have been either invalidated or restricted by judicial decisions. This includes the decriminalization of offenses such as adultery and consensual same-sex intercourse (as originally covered by Section 377).
The proposed Bill outlines significant amendments, including the following key changes:
Currently, the Indian Penal Code defines sedition as an act that brings or attempts to bring hatred, contempt, or disaffection towards the government. The penalty ranges from three years' imprisonment to life imprisonment, along with a fine. However, the Bill eliminates this offense and instead introduces penalties for the following actions:
These actions, whether conveyed through spoken or written words, signs, electronic communication, or financial means, will now be punishable by imprisonment of up to seven years or life imprisonment, accompanied by a fine.
The Bill defines terrorism as any act intended to threaten the nation's unity, integrity, and security, with the aim of intimidating the general public or disrupting public order. Acts of terrorism encompass activities such as:
In addition, offenders will be subject to a minimum fine of five lakh rupees. The Bill also penalizes those who conspire, organize, or assist in preparing any terrorist act. Those found guilty of these actions could face imprisonment ranging from five years to life, in addition to a fine of at least five lakh rupees.
These proposed amendments reflect a concerted effort to reshape the legal framework to address contemporary challenges related to sedition and terrorism. By redefining offenses and enhancing penalties, the Bill aims to provide a more precise and effective approach to combating such activities, aligning with the evolving needs of the nation's security and stability.
While the Indian Penal Code (IPC) presently provides for the death penalty in cases of gang rape involving females under the age of 12, the proposed Bill extends this provision to encompass females under the age of 18.
The Bill introduces penalties for engaging in sexual intercourse with a woman using deceitful methods or a false promise of marriage, where the act falls short of constituting rape. Such actions will be punishable by either simple or rigorous imprisonment for a maximum duration of 10 years, alongside a fine.
In the proposed Bill, organized crime is defined as follows:
The Bill introduces penalties for attempting or committing petty organized crime, which includes acts carried out by organized criminal groups or gangs that induce a general sense of insecurity among citizens. Such acts encompass organized pickpocketing, snatching, and theft. The punishments for petty organized crime include imprisonment spanning one to seven years, along with fines.
The Bill distinctly outlines penalties for murder committed by five or more individuals based on specific grounds such as race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, or personal belief. Each offender involved in such a crime will be subject to:
The Bill's provisions regarding organized crime, petty organized crime, and group-based murder aim to address complex criminal scenarios and their impact on society. By establishing clear definitions and appropriate penalties, the Bill strives to enhance the legal framework's ability to deter and address various forms of criminal behavior effectively.
The existing provisions within the IPC criminalize the act of bringing girls under 21 years old into the country for the purpose of engaging in illicit intercourse with another individual. The Bill expands the scope of these provisions to include the act of bringing boys under 18 years old into such activities, treating it as an offense as well.
The proposed legislative changes outlined in the Bill represent a comprehensive effort to address critical issues related to criminal offenses, particularly those involving minors and vulnerable individuals. By extending the death penalty to gang rapes of females below 18 years of age, the Bill aims to ensure a stronger deterrent against heinous acts that scar young lives. Additionally, the inclusion of penalties for sexual intercourse achieved through deceitful means or unfulfilled promises of marriage underlines society's commitment to safeguarding the dignity and rights of individuals. Furthermore, the Bill's forward-looking approach in extending the applicability of certain offenses to include boys recognizes the equal vulnerability of both genders, fostering a more inclusive legal framework. These proposed amendments reflect a conscientious attempt to align the legal system with evolving societal dynamics and challenges.
If you want to know more about the New v/s Old laws for criminal offences, you should contact a Criminal Lawyer in your jurisdiction. In simple words, if you are living in Kolkata, you must contact a Criminal Lawyer in Kolkata for more insightful information.