Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita 2023


10:47 AM

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Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita 2023 Blog Image

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • Why in the News?
  • About Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita, 2023
  • Key Highlights of the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita, 2023 Bill
  • Criticism of the Bill

Why in News?

  • The Lok Sabha passed three key Bills – Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita, 2023; the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita, 2023; and the Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill, 2023 – to completely overhaul the country’s criminal laws.
  • Piloting the Bills, Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah said these are aimed at indigenizing laws originally enacted by the British.
  • This article focuses on the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita, 2023.

About Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita, 2023

  • The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita, 2023 (BNSS2) seeks to replace the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC).
    • The CrPC provides for the procedure for arrest, prosecution, and bail.
    • The CrPC was first passed in 1861 to address the problem of multiplicity of legal systems in India.
    • In 1973, the erstwhile act was repealed and replaced by the existing CrPC, and changes like anticipatory bail were introduced.
  • The BNSS2 Bill proposes several changes in the existing provisions including those related to trials, investigation, etc.

Key Highlights of the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita, 2023 Bill

  • Detention of undertrials:
    • As per the CrPC, if an accused has spent half of the maximum period of imprisonment in detention, he must be released on personal bond.
    • This does not apply to offences punishable by death.
    • The BNSS2 adds that this provision will also not apply to:
      • offences punishable by life imprisonment, and
      • persons against whom proceedings are pending in more than one offence.
  • Medical examination:
    • The CrPC allows medical examination of the accused in certain cases, including rape cases.
    • Such examination is done by a registered medical practitioner on the request of at least a sub-inspector level police officer.
    • The BNSS2 provides that any police officer can request such an examination.
  • Forensic investigation:
    • The BNSS2 mandates forensic investigation for offences punishable with at least seven years of imprisonment.
    • In such cases, forensic experts will visit crime scenes to collect forensic evidence and record the process on mobile phone or any other electronic device.
    • If a state does not have forensics facility, it shall utilise such facility in another state.
  • Signatures and finger impressions:
    • The CrPC empowers a Magistrate to order any person to provide specimen signatures or handwriting.
    • The BNSS2 expands this to include finger impressions and voice samples.
    • It allows these samples to be collected from a person who has not been arrested.
  • Timelines for procedures:
    • The BNSS2 prescribes timelines for various procedures.
    • For instance, it requires medical practitioners who examine rape victims to submit their reports to the investigating officer within seven days.

Criticism of the Bill

  • The BNSS2 allows up to 15 days of police custody, which can be authorised in parts during the initial 40 or 60 days of the 60- or 90-days period of judicial custody.
    • This may lead to denial of bail for the entire period if the police have not exhausted the 15 days custody.
  • The power to attach property from proceeds of crime does not have safeguards provided in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
  • The CrPC provides for bail for an accused who has been detained for half the maximum imprisonment for the offence.
    • The BNSS2 denies this facility for anyone facing multiple charges. As many cases involve charges under multiple sections, this may limit such bail.
  • The use of handcuffs is permitted in a range of cases including organised crime, contradicting Supreme Court directions.
  • The BNSS2 retains provisions of the CrPC related to maintenance of public order.
    • Since trial procedure and maintenance of public order are distinct functions, the question is whether they should be regulated under the same law or be dealt with separately.
  • Recommendations of high-level committees on changes to the CrPC such as reforms in sentencing guidelines and codifying rights of the accused have not been incorporated in the BNSS2.

Q1) Is Prison under Concurrent List?

As per the provisions of Constitution of India, 'prisons'/ 'persons detained therein' is a 'State' subject. The responsibility of prison management and prisoners administration solely vests with State Governments who alone are competent to make appropriate legislative provisions in this regard.

Q2) When was first CrPC introduced?

The Code of Criminal Procedure commonly called Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) is the main legislation on procedure for administration of substantive criminal law in India. It was enacted in 1973 and came into force on 1 April 1974.

Source: Defining terror to death for lynching: Lok Sabha nod for 3 Bills on new criminal laws | PRS