Three new criminal laws come into force in India

Three new criminal laws come into force in India

( This article is from the section ‘ Indian Constitution and Polity, Legislature, Government Policies and Interventions ’ of UPSC Civil Services Mains General Studies Paper-2 and ‘ Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), Indian Justice Code (BNS), Indian Civil Defence Code (BNSS) and Indian Evidence Act (BSA) ’ of UPSC Prelims Exam. It also includes suggestions from the PLUTUS IAS Team. This article is from ‘Enactment of three new criminal laws in India ’ of ‘ Daily Current Affairs.)


Why in the News ? 



  • Recently, Indian Civil Code (BNS), Indian Civil Defense Code (BNSS) and Indian Evidence Act (BSA) have come into force in India from 1 July 2024. 
  • These three new criminal laws are working to replace the criminal laws enacted during the colonial era in place of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and the Indian Evidence Act. 


Key features of the New Criminal Law : 

Main objectives of the new criminal law:


  • These new laws aim to replace colonial-era punishments with a justice-centered approach. This involves integrating technological advances into police investigation and court processes.


Various classifications included in the new crimes:

The new laws include special provisions and enhanced penalties for the following offences:

  1. Terrorism.
  2. Mob lynching (killing of a person by an unruly mob). 
  3. Organized crime.
  4. Crimes against women and children.


Major steps taken for smooth implementation of new laws :



  • Many important provisions have been made in the new criminal laws with the aim of modernizing the Indian justice system, some of the main changes are as follows – 
  1. Indian Judicial Code (BNS): Under this, treason has been abolished and terrorism has now been clearly defined.
  2. Indian Civil Security Code (BNSS): The Code will also include a section to address gender-based offenses (sexual offenses against men and transgender persons).
  3. Autonomy to states: States have been given the freedom to make their own amendments to certain provisions of the Indian Civil Defense Code (BNSS).
  4. Interim measures: Till the amendment is proposed, police officers have been directed to use other relevant sections under the BNS if they receive complaints such as causing bodily harm and wrongful confinement.
  5. Important changes in IPC and CrPC: IPC and CrPC will remain in force along with the new laws as many cases are still pending in the courts and some crimes committed before July 1, 2024, which are reported later, will have to be registered under IPC.
  6. CCTNS and Online FIR: First Information Report (FIR) can be filed online through Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS), allowing e-FIR and Zero FIR to be filed in multiple languages ​​without the need to visit the police station.
  7. Management of training and support: Training and support has been put in place to help all states in India adapt to the new system.
  8. E-Evidence Application Mobile App: Crime scene evidence can be recorded through the e-Evidence application developed by the Ministry of Home Affairs and can also be uploaded through the e-Evidence application mobile app, while different states in India have developed their own, depending on their capabilities. Systems have been developed. For example, Delhi Police has developed e-Praman application


Major provisions of the new laws : 



The key points of the new laws are as follows:

  1. Provision of community service: There is a provision for community service as a punishment for minor crimes.
  2. Terrorist Act: The new laws define a terrorist act as an act intended or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, sovereignty, security, or economic security of India or to terrorize the people.
  3. Punishment for mob lynching: These new laws provide for death penalty or life imprisonment for mob lynching committed by five or more people on the basis of race, caste, community, gender, place of birth, language or personal belief.
  4. Trial in absence of fugitive/absconding criminals: Fugitive or fugitive criminals can be tried in their absence.
  5. Summary hearing: Summary trials will be conducted in cases involving sentences up to 3 years, with the aim being to resolve more than 40% of the cases in the Sessions Courts.
  6. Videography during search and seizure: These laws make videography mandatory during searches and seizures. Without such recording no charge sheet will be valid.
  7. To be released on bail by the court for first time offence: Any first-time offender who has served one-third of his imprisonment shall be released on bail by the Court.
  8. It should be made mandatory to take the help of forensic experts: It has been made mandatory to seek the assistance of forensic experts in every case involving imprisonment for a period of seven years or more.


Indian Judicial Code (BNS) :

  • BNS has a total of 358 sections, which is less than IPC’s 511 sections.
  • 21 new crimes have been added to BNS.
  • Jail sentences have increased in 41 crimes and the amount of fine has increased in 82 crimes.
  • Provision for minimum punishment has been made in 25 crimes.
  • 19 sections have been removed.


Indian Civil Security Code (BNSS):

  • BNSS has a total of 531 sections, in which 177 provisions have been amended.
  • 14 sections have been completely removed.


Indian Evidence Act (BSA) :

  • Indian Evidence Act Under this, FIRs of criminal cases will be written.
  • The new laws will not affect old cases.
  • Under this law, there is a facility to register FIR online, due to which there will be no need to go to the police station.

These three new laws bring significant changes to India’s judicial system and ensure speedy and smooth judicial process in criminal cases.


Major initiatives taken by the government related to this : 



  1. National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms (AI Portal SUPACE): Government of India has launched AI portal SUPACE under the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms. Its objective is to make the justice system faster and more effective.
  2. Indian Justice (Second) Code, 2023: The Indian Justice (Second) Code, 2023 has brought reforms in the Indian judicial system. In this, changes have been made in judicial procedure, criminal procedure, and other legal provisions.
  3. Indian Civil Defense (Second) Code, 2023: This Code enacts new legal provisions for the protection of Indian citizens.
  4. Indian Evidence (Second) Bill, 2023: Reforms have been made in the evidence process under this Bill. This is done with the aim of providing more effective and faster evidence in the judicial process.
  5. Modernization of Police: Under this, it has been made mandatory to modernize the police force in India and the process of research related to it for the safety of Indian citizens.  


Source – The Hindu and PIB. 


Practice Questions for Preliminary Exam : 


Q.1. Match the following.

                 Law                                                      New law 

  1. Indian Penal Code (IPC)                     a. Indian Judicial Code, 2023
  2. Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)      b. Indian Civil Defense Code, 2023
  3. Indian Evidence Act c                         .c.  Indian Evidence Act, 2023

Which of the above laws is correctly matched? 

A. Only 1 and 2.

B. Only 1 and 3.

C. Only 2 and 3.

D. All of the above . 

Answer – D


Practice Questions for Main Exam : 


Q.1. What do you understand by mob violence (mob lynching)? In recent times in India, mob violence is emerging as a serious problem for the rule of law and law and order. Analyze the main causes and consequences of this type of violence in India. ( UPSC CSE – 2019 Word Limit – 250 Marks – 15 )


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