The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam will replace the old Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and Indian Evidence Act

Starting Monday, July 1, the three new criminal laws will take effect nationwide, significantly altering India’s criminal justice system and replacing colonial-era legislation

New criminal laws explained

  1. Criminal case judgments must be delivered within 45 days after the trial ends. Charges must be framed within 60 days of the first hearing. All state governments must implement witness protection schemes to ensure the safety and cooperation of witnesses.
  2. Statements from rape victims will be recorded by a female police officer in the presence of the victim’s guardian or relative. Medical reports must be completed within seven days.
  3. A new chapter in the law addresses crimes against women and children. Buying or selling a child is classified as a heinous crime, punishable by severe penalties. Gangrape of a minor can result in a death sentence or life imprisonment.
  4. The law now includes punishments for cases where women are abandoned after being misled by false promises of marriage.
  5. Victims of crimes against women are entitled to receive regular updates on their cases within 90 days. All hospitals are required to provide free first-aid or medical treatment to victims of crimes against women and children.
  6. Both the accused and the victim are entitled to receive copies of the FIR, police report, charge sheet, statements, confessions, and other documents within 14 days. Courts are allowed a maximum of two adjournments to avoid unnecessary delays in case hearings.
  7. Incidents can now be reported via electronic communication, eliminating the need to visit a police station. The introduction of Zero FIR allows individuals to file a First Information Report at any police station, regardless of jurisdiction.
  8. Arrested individual has the right to inform a person of their choice about their situation, so that he can receive immediate support. Arrest details will be prominently displayed in police stations and district headquarters for easy access by families and friends.
  9. It is now mandatory for forensic experts to visit crime scenes for serious offences and collect evidence.
  10. The definition of “gender” now includes transgender people, promoting equality. For certain offences against women, victim statements should be recorded by a woman magistrate when possible. If unavailable, a male magistrate must record the statement in the presence of a woman. Statements related to rape must be recorded through audio-video means, ensuring transparency and protection for the victim. (Hindustan Times)