New criminal laws come into force today

New Delhi: The three new criminal laws—Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023—are set to come into force Today. The Government of India has been actively engaging with States and Union Territories, ensuring they are fully prepared in terms of technology, capacity building, and awareness generation to implement these new laws.

Passed by Parliament during the winter session last year, these new criminal laws represent a significant step towards empowering Indian citizens. They aim to create a more accessible, supportive, and efficient justice system. Key provisions include the ability to report incidents online, file FIRs at any police station, and provide victims with a free copy of the FIR. Additionally, individuals under arrest have the right to inform a person of their choice about their situation. The laws also prioritize timely investigations of offenses against women and children, mandating completion within two months of recording information.

Forensic experts are now required to visit crime scenes for serious offenses to collect evidence. Summons can be served electronically, expediting legal processes, reducing paperwork, and ensuring efficient communication between parties.

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To ensure a smooth transition, police and investigative authorities have undergone extensive training. Public awareness has been promoted through news bulletins, programs, discussions, and social media platforms of Doordarshan and Akashvani. Additional efforts include public awareness flyers, interaction programs, informational websites, and ministerial-level webinars. Course modules on the new laws have been included in schools and higher education institutions.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has made 23 functional modifications to the existing Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems (CCTNS) application, emphasizing technology in investigation, trial, and court proceedings. The NCRB is also providing technical assistance to States and UTs for a seamless transition.

Today the University Grants Commission, All India Council for Technical Education, and various higher education institutions will organize one-day activities, including group discussions, workshops, Q&A sessions, and quizzes on the new criminal laws. Additionally, each police station’s Officer-in-Charge in all States and Union Territories will highlight the salient features of the new laws.

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