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India Implements Three New Criminal Laws

S Choudhury
India Implements Three New Criminal Laws
India Implements Three New Criminal Laws

India implements three new criminal laws, replacing British-era legislation. Modern justice system includes Zero FIR, online complaints, and more.

India has ushered in a new era of criminal justice by implementing three new criminal laws across the country. These changes mark the end of British-era legislation and the beginning of a modern judicial system designed to streamline and improve the process of justice. The Indian Judicial Code, Indian Civil Defense Code, and Indian Evidence Act have replaced the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, and the old Indian Evidence Act respectively, bringing extensive changes to the criminal justice system in India.

Key Features of the New Laws

The new laws introduce several modern features aimed at making the justice system more efficient and accessible. One of the notable changes is the introduction of ‘Zero FIR’, which allows any individual to file a First Information Report (FIR) at any police station, regardless of jurisdiction. This is expected to significantly reduce delays in registering cases and ensure quicker action by law enforcement.

Another major advancement is the ability to file complaints online, providing greater convenience to the public. Additionally, the new laws mandate the use of electronic means for sending summons, such as SMS (text messages), and require videography of crime scenes in all heinous crime cases.

Improved Procedures for Rape Cases

Under the new laws, several provisions specifically address crimes against women and children. In cases of rape, the statement of the victim must be taken by a female police officer in the presence of a guardian or relative. The medical report must be submitted within seven days to expedite the judicial process. The verdict in criminal cases is expected to be delivered within 45 days of the trial’s completion, and charges must be framed within 60 days of the first hearing.

New Definitions and Penalties

The new laws provide clearer definitions for organized crimes and acts of terrorism. Notably, sedition has been replaced by the charge of treason. The laws also stipulate that all search and seizure operations be videographed to ensure transparency.

Additional Provisions

  1. A new chapter on crimes against women and children has been added, categorizing the buying and selling of children as heinous crimes. The new law includes provisions for the death penalty or life imprisonment for gang rape of a minor.
  2. Individuals can now register incidents via electronic communication without physically going to a police station, making the process more accessible and efficient.
  3. ‘Zero FIR’ allows anyone to file an FIR at any police station, irrespective of jurisdiction, ensuring immediate police action.
  4. Arrested individuals have the right to inform a person of their choice about their condition, ensuring immediate assistance.
  5. The new laws prioritize the investigation of crimes against women and children, mandating that investigations be completed within two months of filing the case. Victims have the right to receive regular updates on the progress of their case within 90 days.
  6. Victims of crimes against women and children are entitled to free first aid or treatment in all hospitals.
  7. Both the accused and the victim have the right to obtain FIR, police reports, charge sheets, statements, confessions, and other documents within 14 days.
  8. Courts can adjourn hearings a maximum of two times to prevent unnecessary delays and ensure timely justice.
  9. All state governments are required to implement a witness protection scheme to ensure the safety and cooperation of witnesses, thereby enhancing the credibility and effectiveness of legal processes.
  10. Victim statements in rape cases must be recorded through audio-video means to ensure greater protection and transparency.
  11. Women, individuals below the age of 15, above the age of 60, or those with disabilities or serious illnesses are exempt from visiting police stations and can receive police assistance at their place of residence.

These extensive reforms are designed to create a more efficient, transparent, and victim-friendly justice system in India, bringing the country’s criminal justice framework in line with modern standards and expectations.