March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

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BHARATIYA NYAYA SANHITA BILL, 2023: TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGES AND IMPLICATIONS

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TAG: GS 2: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

THE CONTEXT: The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023, aims to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC) with comprehensive revisions and transformative changes in criminal laws, departing significantly from the existing framework.

EXPLANATION:

  • This legislation introduces new offences, abolishes outdated provisions, and modifies existing laws to adapt to contemporary societal and legal dynamics.

New Offences Introduced

  • Promise to Marry
    • Clause 69 criminalizes deceitful promises of marriage leading to consensual sexual activity, addressing concerns related to “love jihad” narratives.
    • It broadens the ambit of sexual offences by penalizing individuals engaging in sexual intercourse with false promises.
  • Mob Lynching
    • The BNS codifies offences linked to mob lynching and hate-crime murders, prescribing severe punishments, including life imprisonment to death, for murder committed by mobs based on factors like race, caste, or personal belief.
  • Organized Crime
    • For the first time, organized crime comes under ordinary criminal law.
    • It includes provisions for cases involving death, imposing penalties ranging from life imprisonment to death, and a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for non-fatal incidents.
  • Terrorism
    • The BNS incorporates language from stringent anti-terrorism laws, bringing terrorism under the purview of ordinary criminal law, broadening the definition of terror activities and terror financing.
  • Attempted Suicide in Protests
    • A provision criminalizing suicide attempts with the intent to restrain public servants from discharging duties aims to prevent self-immolations or hunger strikes during protests.

Deletions and Modifications

  • Repealing Section 377
    • The BNS repeals Section 377, decriminalizing homosexuality.
    • However, concerns exist about its omission, as it was also used to tackle non-consensual sexual acts, while current rape laws remain gendered.
  • Adultery
    • Adultery, previously deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, is omitted under the BNS.
  • Thugs and Gender Neutrality
    • The provision labelling habitual associates as “thugs” is eliminated due to its colonial connotations.
    • Gender neutrality is introduced in various laws concerning children and crimes against women.

Other Notable Changes

  • Fake News and Sedition
    • The BNS introduces provisions to criminalize publishing false information and revises sedition laws, broadening the definition and incorporating financial aid to subversive activities.
  • Mandatory Minimum Sentences and Fines
    • The legislation introduces mandatory minimum sentences in several cases, limiting judicial discretion.
    • Offences related to public property damage now carry graded fines corresponding to the extent of damage.

Conclusion

  • The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023, signifies a monumental shift in India’s legal landscape, aiming to modernize criminal laws, address societal concerns, and adapt to contemporary challenges.
  • While it introduces progressive changes, the legislation also raises questions about its nuanced implementation, judicial discretion, and potential impacts on civil liberties and justice delivery.

SOURCE: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-law/indian-penal-code-to-nyaya-sanhita-whats-new-what-is-out-what-changes-9078213/

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