In a landmark event, the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) Bill 2023 was introduced in the Lok Sabha, signifying a momentous step towards transforming India’s legal landscape. This bill aims to replace the archaic 1860 Indian Penal Code (IPC) with a contemporary legal framework that aligns with the evolving societal norms and challenges.
Purpose of the BNS Bill
The primary objective of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill is to supersede the existing IPC of 1860, which has been deemed outdated and not in harmony with the contemporary legal requirements and societal dynamics.
Highlights of the BNS Bill
Provisions Count Comparison
The BNS Bill encompasses a total of 356 provisions, marking a departure from the IPC’s 511 provisions.
Proposed Changes and Reforms
The bill introduces several key changes and reforms in various aspects of criminal law, reflecting the modernization of legal principles and addressing pressing concerns:
- Defamation laws are revamped.
- Offenses against women are revisited.
- The act of attempting to commit suicide undergoes reconsideration.
- A notable highlight is the repeal of the sedition law, which has stirred debates and controversies.
- The bill introduces a provision for capital punishment for crimes like mob lynching and rape of minors.
Major Changes in Detail
The BNS Bill proposes a new provision (150) addressing offenses against the State, such as acts that endanger India’s unity, sovereignty, and integrity. The penalty ranges from life imprisonment to up to seven years with a fine. copyright©iasexpress.net
Under provision 101 of the BNS Bill, the punishment for murder can include a life term or the death sentence, especially in cases where a group commits murder based on factors like race, caste, or community.
A new provision (302) in the BNS Bill deals with snatching, defining it as a sudden, forceful seizure. The punishment can range up to three years with a fine.
The BNS Bill introduces a fresh definition for terrorism (provision 111), addressing acts that disturb public order or compromise India’s unity, integrity, and security.
Defamation laws are modernized under the BNS Bill, introducing the possibility of community service alongside penalties, in addition to the existing fine or imprisonment provisions.
Section 224 of the BNS Bill addresses suicide, stipulating punishments of up to one year, fine, or community service if the intention was to restrain a public servant.
Provision 69 of the BNS Bill addresses sexual deception, where deceitful means or false marriage promises are employed. The punishment can extend up to ten years with a fine, covering false promises of employment or identity suppression.
Historical Context and Previous Reform Attempts
Law Commission Recommendations and Committees
The BNS Bill is not the first attempt at legal reform. The Law Commission of India, along with committees led by individuals like Bezbaruah, Viswanathan, Malimath, and Madhav Menon, has long advocated for legal modernization. copyright©iasexpress.net
Parliamentary Standing Committee Reports
Reports from the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, spanning across various years such as the 111th (2005), 128th (2006), and 146th (2010), have highlighted the need for legal reforms and updates.