EDEN IAS

Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita

BHARATIYA NYAY SANHITA (SECOND) 2023 (BNS)

WHY IN THE NEWS Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita?

Recently parliament pass the Bharatiya nyaya sanhita bill, replacing the Indian procedure code. The BNS2 Largely retains the provisions of the IPC, adds some new offenses, removes offenses that been struck down by courts, and increases penalties for several offenses.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE ACT.

  • The Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita (BNS2) incorporates the majority of IPC offenses. In addition, community service adds as a penalty.
  • Sedition is not a crime Rather, actions that jeopardize India’s sovereignty, unity, or integrity now carry a new criminal code.  
  • The BNS2 includes the crime of terrorism. It’s an act intends to terrorize the populace or jeopardize the nation’s unity, integrity, security, or economic security.
  • A further offense been add: organize crime. It comprises offenses carries out on behalf of a criminal organization, such as kidnapping, extortion, and cyber crime.  These days, minor organize crime is also a crime.
  • Murder committed by a group of five or more people because of a certain identification marker, such as caste, language, or personal belief, is punishable by life in prison or death as well as a fine.

KEY FEATURES AND ANALYSIS OF THE ACT.

  1. The statute of limitations on criminal liability is seven years. Depending on the accused’s level of maturity, it can last up to 12 years.  This might go against what international conventions advise.
  2. The BNS2 defines a child to mean a person below the age of 18. Nonetheless, the victim’s age does not have to be 18 for several offenses against minors.  There are differences in the threshold for minorities who are victims of rape and gang rape.
  3. Several offenses overlaps by specific legislation. Both frequently have distinct punishments or offer distinct processes.  This could result in several regulatory frameworks, increased compliance expenses, and the potential to impose multiple fees.
  4. Sedition is no longer a crime according to the BNS2. It’s possible that elements of sedition were preserved in the clause about threatening India’s sovereignty, unity, and integrity.
  5. The BNS2 keeps the provisions of the IPC regarding rape and sexual harassment. It disregards the Justice Verma Committee’s (2013) recommendations, which include making marital rape a crime and making rape a gender-neutral offense.
  6. 377 of the IPC, which the Supreme Court read down, is not included in the BNS2. This eliminates bestiality and the rape of males as crimes.

CHANGES MADE BY THE Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita ACT:

Crimes against the body:  According to the IPC, crimes including murder, aiding and abetting suicide, assault, and causing great harm are all illegal.  These clauses are retained in the BNS2.  It includes new crimes including terrorism, organized crime, and killing someone or causing serious harm to some people for specific reasons. 

 

Sexual offenses against women: According to the IPC, crimes against women include rape, voyeurism, stalking, and demeaning a woman’s modesty.  These clauses are retained in the BNS2.  In the event of gang rape, it raises the age requirement for the victim to be considered a major from 16 to 18.  Additionally, it makes it illegal to have sex with a woman while lying to her or making false promises.

 

Sedition:  The offense of sedition is eliminated by the BNS2.  Rather, it sanctions the following: (i) inciting or seeking to incite armed insurrection, subversive actions, or secession; (ii) propagating sentiments favorable to separatist activity; or (iii) jeopardizing India’s sovereignty or unity and integrity.  These offenses could include using money, exchanging words or signals, or communicating electronically.    

 

Terrorism: Any act that aims to: (i) undermine the nation’s unity, integrity, security, or economic security; or (ii) incite fear among the Indian populace as a whole or any particular group within it is considered terrorism.  If terrorism attempts or succeeds, the penalties are as follows: (i) death or life in jail, together with a fine; (ii) five years to life in prison, along with a fine.

 

Organized crime:  Crimes committed on behalf of a criminal organization, such as kidnapping, extortion, contract killing, land grabbing, financial fraud, and cybercrime, are classified as organized crime.  The following penalties apply to those who attempt or conduct organized crime: (i) death or life in prison, along with a fine of at least Rs 10 lakh, if the crime ends in the death of the perpetrator; or (ii) imprisonment ranging from five years to life, along with a fine of at least Rs five lakh.

 

Mob lynching: According to the BNS2, it is now illegal to murder or cause great harm to five or more individuals for certain reasons.  These grounds can be based on personal beliefs, language, caste, sex, or race.  Such murder carries a life sentence in jail or the death penalty.

 

Decisions made by the Supreme Court:  The BNS2 conforms to some decisions of the Supreme Court.  These include omitting adultery as an offense and adding life imprisonment as one of the penalties (in addition to the death penalty) for murder or attempt to murder by a life convict

 

KEY ISSUES WITH THE Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita ACT

The criminal liability minimum age is higher than in several other jurisdictions.

  • The age of criminal responsibility is the youngest age at which a minor may face legal action and punishment for a crime. Questions concerning how much responsibility youngsters should take for their conduct have been raised by advances in our understanding of how teenage behavior is influenced by brain biology.
  • Nothing that a child under the age of seven commits is regarded as an offense under the IP The age of criminal culpability rises to 12 years, if the kid is deemed not to have achieved the ability to appreciate the nature and consequences of his conduct.  These clauses are retained in the BNS2.

Similar offenses under different special legislation

  • Upon its enactment, the IPC included all criminal offenses. To address particular topics and related offenses, special laws have been passed over time.
  • A portion of these offenses are no longer included on the BNS2. For instance, offenses about weights and measures were taken out of the BNS2 and added to the Legal Metrology Act, of 2009.  Nonetheless, several offenses are still in effect.
  • The BNS2 also includes certain additional offences such as organised crime and terrorism which are currently covered under special statutes. Laws that overlap like this could make compliance more difficult and expensiv  It might also result in different laws with different punishments for the same offenses.

Increase in crimes involving terrorism and organized crime

  • Acts of terrorism and organized crime are not currently covered by the IPC. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967 (UAPA) addresses acts of terrorism.
  • Organized crime is covered by state legislation like the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999 (MCOCA), and similar laws established by Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan. The BNS2 now includes offenses connected to both organized crime and terrorism. The BNS2’s and UAPA’s respective provisions on terrorism are comparable.

A gang member’s sentence for a crime is different from an individual’s.

  • Petty organized crime is classified as an offense by the BNS2. It covers pickpocketing, selling exam questions for public examinations, car theft, and any other illegal activity of a similar nature.  These offenses must be carried out by members of a group or gang to be classified as minor organized crime.

Crimes committed against women                                                                

  • The IPC’s rape-related provisions are preserved in the BNS2. Numerous suggestions by the Supreme Court and the Justice Verma Committee (2013) regarding the reform of crimes against women have not been implemented.

Seditionary elements remain

  • Sedition is defined by the IPC as seeking to incite hatred, disdain, or discontent with the government. Sedition has been placed on hold by the Supreme Court while a Constitution bench reviews the case. The BNS2 removes this offense
  • Instead, it inserts a provision that penalizes: (i) stimulating or attempting to incite secession, armed revolt, or subversive activities, (ii) fostering feelings of separatist activities, or (iii) jeopardizing the sovereignty or unity and integrity of India. These offenses could include using money, exchanging words or signals, or communicating electronically.

Solitary confinement can violate basic rights.

  • Solitary confinement is allowed under the Indian Penal Code for offenses that carry a severe jail sentence. These offenses include kidnapping or kidnapping with the intent to murder, sexual harassment, and criminal conspiracy. 
  • These clauses are retained in the BNS2. Many state laws have adopted the Prisons Act, of 1894, which also enables the use of solitary confinement.

It’s unclear what community service entails.

  • The BNS2 increases the penalty for community service. This punishment is now applicable to offenses like (i) stealing property valued at less than Rs. 5,000; (ii) attempting suicide to put a public official in restraint; and (iii) showing up intoxicated and causing disturbance in a public place.   The BNS2 does not specify the nature of community service or how it will be carried out.

CONCLUSION

Bhartiya nyay sanhita act modifies outdated criminal laws that are not suitable to  present crimes and procedures. The act is hoped to play a key role in reforming law enforcement and following the due process of law as mentioned by the constitution. However, there are certain flaws that need to be addressed in the future to make India free from crimes and maintain the prestige of democracy.

Source: PRS India