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Revamping India’s Legal Landscape: Rajya Sabha Proposed Bills Referred to Committee for Examination

In a significant move, Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar has referred three pivotal legislations, aimed at replacing the IPC, CrPC, and Evidence Act, to the Standing Committee on Home Affairs. The committee has been tasked with a comprehensive examination of these bills and is expected to submit its report within the span of three months.

The bills, namely the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, were formally introduced in the Lok Sabha by none other than the Home Minister, Amit Shah, on the 11th of August.

These proposed bills hold the promise of supplanting the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the Indian Evidence Act, ushering in a new era of legal framework. Speaking passionately about the reforms, Shah emphasized their potential to revolutionize India’s criminal justice system. He underlined that these amendments were designed to expedite justice and to establish a legal architecture that aligns with the contemporary needs and aspirations of the populace.

In an official communication released on a Friday evening, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat disclosed, “On the 18th of August, 2023, the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, in conjunction with the Speaker of Lok Sabha, has referred the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita 2023, and the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill 2023, as presented in the Lok Sabha and currently under consideration therein, to the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs.” The Committee, comprising members from both Houses of Parliament, is mandated to meticulously examine and furnish a comprehensive report within a span of three months.

Heading the Standing Committee on Home Affairs is BJP member Brij Lal, poised to oversee the scrutiny of these transformative bills.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita introduces a slew of alterations to existing provisions, including but not limited to defamation and attempts to commit suicide. Notably, it expands the scope of offenses against women concerning sexual intercourse through “deceitful means.” The bill also introduces novel offenses such as acts of secession, armed rebellion, subversive activities, and separatist activities—highlighting the revamped sedition law’s new avatar.

An unprecedented milestone, the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita crafts a definition for “terrorism,” a term hitherto absent in the IPC. This pioneering addition signifies a modern and forward-looking approach to tackling pressing issues.

The referred bills hold the potential to reshape the legal landscape, modernizing and enhancing India’s criminal justice system, while aligning it with the contemporary realities and demands of society. The meticulous scrutiny by the Standing Committee on Home Affairs promises to ensure that these legislative changes are robust, relevant, and responsive to the evolving needs of the nation.

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