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Amit Shah : New Bill Aims to Strengthen Laws Against Sexual Offences in India

Introduction of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Amendment Bill

New Delhi, 16 August (City Times): (Amit Shah) In a significant move, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has presented the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Amendment Bill before the Parliament. This new bill seeks to replace the existing Indian Penal Code (IPC), which dates back to 1862 and was formulated under the guidance of Thomas Babington Macaulay, who chaired the first Law Commission.

Modernizing and Simplifying the Legal System

The Indian Penal Code, enacted during the colonial era, has undergone limited changes over time. The proposed Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Amendment Bill aims to streamline and modernize this legal framework. With a current count of 511 sections, the bill endeavors to simplify the code by reducing it to 356 sections, thereby making legal proceedings more efficient.

Enhancing Timely Justice Delivery

The primary objective of this amendment bill is to expedite legal proceedings and ensure timely justice delivery. By eliminating complex procedures and outdated language, the bill seeks to create a more accessible and effective legal system. The amendment introduces 8 new sections and eliminates 22 sections, thereby removing terminologies rooted in colonial times and focusing on the rights of citizens.

Transforming the Justice System

This bill is part of a larger effort to transform the justice system in India and eliminate remnants of colonial-era laws. It forms one of the three bills aimed at comprehensive reform of key legal codes. These codes have long been criticized for their complexity, lengthy procedures, and bias against marginalized communities.

Addressing Sexual Offences

One notable provision of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Amendment Bill is the introduction of Section 69, which deals with “Sexual Intercourse by employing deceitful means, etc.” This section covers instances involving false promises of marriage, employment, promotion, or the use of a false identity. Offenders can face imprisonment of up to 10 years, along with a fine.

Enhancing Conviction Rates and Victim Protection

The bill also mandates that inquiries and trials related to sexual offences be conducted in camera, which is expected to lead to higher conviction rates in such cases. Additionally, it aims to increase the accountability of police officers and courts. The time frame for investigating sexual offences and cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act is set at 60 days from the date of recording the information by the police.

Stricter Punishments for Gang Rape

In a move to deter heinous crimes, the bill introduces stricter punishments for gang rape of minors. Offenders could now face life imprisonment or even the death penalty. The bill has removed the previous categorization based on the age of the victim and instead focuses on those under the age of 18.

Aiming for a Comprehensive Impact

While these amendments aim to bring about a deterrent effect, the true success of any law depends on the combined efforts of the three pillars of governance and law enforcement: the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary. The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita seeks to establish clear timelines for investigation and adjudication, potentially reducing delays that perpetrators have exploited in the past.

Conclusion: The introduction of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Amendment Bill marks a significant step towards strengthening laws against sexual offences in India. By modernizing the legal framework, addressing procedural issues, and enhancing punishments, the bill seeks to create a more just and efficient justice system. However, the effectiveness of these changes ultimately hinges on the collaborative efforts of various branches of governance and law enforcement.

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