Economy India

Eradicating criminal tendencies through social reforms is more important

Controversy over three laws again

 Eradicating criminal tendencies through social reforms is more important than rewriting the criminal justice system and nurturing its mechanisms.

By Manohar Manoj









From July 1, 2023, a new history has once again been written in the public system of India, just as a new history was written seven years ago through GST. The names and values ​​of the three criminal law codes, which have been running for 163 years, the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1861, the Code of Criminal Procedure 1974 and the Indian Evidence Act 1872, were changed. The new names of these laws have now become Bhartiya Nyay Sanhita, 2023, Bhartiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita, 2023 and Bhartiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023 respectively. It is being said that this triad of laws named by the British colonial empire did not represent the judicial sentiments of independent India. Through these amended law codes, it is being told that every judicial hearing and its decisions must be taken within the stipulated time. Secondly, more and more technologies will be used in the crime investigation process. The use of digital and electronic methods as evidence of crime will be increased. The number of criminal sections under the new code has now reduced from 511 to 358.  In this sequence,21 new crimes have been added to the list of cognizable crimes, in which crimes like cyber crime, mob lynching and hate violence are prominent.It is noteworthy that in the new regime, there is a provision of community service instead of any prison sentence for about 6 main crimes. The biggest change that has happened under these amendments is that the prevailing sections of all the main crimes have now changed. As the crime of kidnapping was covered under Section 363 of the Indian Penal Code, it will now be called Section 111 of the BNS. Similarly, attempt to murder was under section 307 of IPC, now it will become section 109(1) of BNS.

The crime of murder is now 103 (1) instead of 302 under IPC, molestation is now 77 A instead of 354, gang rape is now section 70 of BNS from 376 A of IPC, robbery is now 309 instead of 394, rioting section is changed from 147 to 191 (2). And section 144 of unlawful gathering has now been converted into section 189 in the new Indian Judicial Code.

The person filing a complaint with the police has the convenience, can filing an FIR through his WhatsApp and in any nearby police station. After five days the complaint will be transferred to the work area related to the complainant.

The police hierarchy for sanctioning crimes according to the seriousness of the crime has also been fixed in the new law. Provisions have also been made to discourage false complaints. This means that now police, lawyers and judges will all have to read and memorize all the terminologies of the new legal codes and their legal technical aspects and will also have to take training related to it. The second problem will be that all the criminal cases registered before July 1, 2024, will be settled through the old legal codes only, whereas the cases registered after July 1 will have to be settled through the new technology mentioned under the new laws. Since the operation of new laws on July 1, there have been reports of police departments of the Central and State Governments holding district-wise meetings and starting exercises to collect evidence of crime through digital devices such as smart mobiles. It is being told that in order to comply with the new legal codes, many challenges have arisen in the country like setting up of a huge judicial structure, forensic labs, audiovisual servers, coordination between various agencies of law and order and investigation, the establishment of new training centers, etc.. The way tax administration of the Center and the states had to face many practical difficulties after the introduction of the GST regime, which is still continuing, more or less, the criminal justice system will also have to go through the same process.It must be said that through the three new criminal codes, a new coat of reforms has been worn in principle in the country; but if we look inside that cover, many secrets are hidden in the Indian criminal justice system. The Union Home Minister still says that even under the new legal codes, the police remand period of the criminal has been maintained for 15 days, which means the police will continue to get a license to torture the alleged criminal.It does not seem that the current new legal regime will ensure that the innumerable questions regarding India’s police and judicial system that have persisted for decades will be resolved. For example, the way the police take advantage of people’s ignorance and naivety, they intimidate and harass them, register crimes under the wrong criminal section and extort money from them. Will the new law regime allow them to do so? Will you get relief?

Will the human rights of millions of prisoners, who are living a life of imprisonment without a fixed sentence, be ensured under the various new legal regimes? Will there be relief from the years of time and lakhs of crores of rupees that have to be spent to get justice under the new regime? In the new legal regime, will there be hope for the timely disposal of about 4 crore cases pending in all the courts of the country? Will reasonable fee rates for lawyers be fixed in the new regime?

In the new legal regime, will the police behave as a servant of the public or at least as a friend? Will the police be forced to present its character of protecting the innocent and nabbing the real criminal? Will the role of the police, even in the new legal regime, be limited only to the so-called prevention of crimes or will they have any role in providing many daily services to the public like verification, identification, filing of FIR for any problem and creating a social environment free from tension, conflict, fear and intimidation? Will it be visible? Looking at the current police justice system of India and the poor character of its functioning system, these things appear hopeless. Be it India or any other country, there is a dynamic of spontaneous generation of crimes in every society. In this, many crimes arise due to the innate tendencies of the criminal and also influenced by his environment and culture. Many criminals come into the mindset of introspection after going to jail, while on the other hand, there are many criminals who, despite being punished, return from jail and become bigger hardened criminals.In such a situation, doesn’t it become the duty of the government and the society to destroy the tendency of committing all kinds of crimes from its roots rather than allowing this tendency to survive and the existing corrupt system of police, lawyers, judges and criminals in the country? Will it be allowed to flourish unhindered, which has, in a way, become an anonymous industry worth billions where policemen, criminals and lawmen are all rich and their huge business runs in all the courts of the country? Why don’t we launch a campaign to increase the process of mental transformation and reforms of criminals and prisoners facing the law in all the jails of the country? A law for the prohibition of liquor was made in Bihar, but the result was the opposite. In a way, the number of drunkards increased more drunkards started dying after drinking the smuggled substandard liquor. On the other hand, this not only eliminated the source of revenue for the government but the same amount was converted into illegal earnings for the police.If instead of this initiative the government had run a comprehensive campaign and incentive program to change the mindset of the alcoholic, the result would have been more permanent. However, the tag of British slavery has been removed with the three new legal codes, but the agenda of judicial reforms and change is still waiting for the times to come.


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