President Droupadi Murmu granted approval today to three groundbreaking criminal justice bills, marking a shift in India’s legal landscape. The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Act, recently greenlit by Parliament, are set to replace the longstanding colonial-era laws – the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, addressing the Parliament’s debate on the bills, said that the focus was on delivering justice rather than simply meting out punishment. He said that consultations were undertaken during the drafting process, assuring lawmakers that every detail had been scrutinized before seeking approval.
“The objective is to revamp the criminal justice system, providing clear definitions for various offences and their corresponding punishments,” Shah stated during the parliamentary session.
The legislation introduces a framework for offences such as secession, armed rebellion, subversive activities, separatism, or acts endangering the sovereignty and unity of the nation. The sedition law sees a transformation, with the term ‘Rajdroh’ replaced by ‘Deshdroh,’ eliminating references to the British crown.
According to the new laws, anyone purposefully engaging in acts of secession, armed rebellion, subversive activities, or encouraging separatist sentiments may face imprisonment for life or a term of up to seven years, coupled with fines.
President Murmu’s assent marks a crucial milestone in the journey toward a revamped and more contemporary criminal justice system in India.