LS passes 4 bills by voice vote; ‘Trial in Absentia’ introduced in criminal law | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Lok Sabha passes 4 bills by voice vote; ‘Trial in Absentia’ provision introduced in criminal law

Dec 20, 2023 08:51 PM IST

These bills will replace the Indian Penal Code-1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure Act-1898, and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, respectively.

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed three bills to replace the colonial-era criminal laws, by voice vote. The three bills were introduced by home minister Amit Shah last week. The names of the redrafted bills are -- the Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill. It also passed the Telecommunications Bill, 2023, with voice vote.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Winter session of Parliament, in New Delhi. (PTI)
Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Winter session of Parliament, in New Delhi. (PTI)

The proceedings took place in the absence of 97 Opposition MPs, who were suspended over misconduct and unruly behaviour since last week.

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These three bills will replace the Indian Penal Code-1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure Act-1898, and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, respectively.

Shah said the bills were framed after consultations. He said he had even gone through every comma and full stop before they were tabled in the Lok Sabha.

He said the three bills will establish a justice system based on Indian thinking. He said the existing laws reflect the colonial mindset of punishing for a crime but not doing justice.

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"The three proposed criminal laws will free people from colonial mindset and its symbols," Shah said.

Amit Shah explains changes

Elaborating on the changes brought in by the bills, Shah said a provision for trial in absentia has been introduced to the criminal justice system.

"A provision for Trial in Absentia has been introduced...Many cases in the country shook us be it the Mumbai bomb blast or any other. Those people are hiding in other countries and trials are not underway. They don't need to come here now. If they don't appear before the Court within 90 days then in their absence trial will go on...A public prosecutor will be appointed for their prosecution. They will be hanged...It will make the process to bring them back speedy since it changes their status in the other country when they get prosecuted," he said in the Lok Sabha.

He said after the bill becomes law, the case would have to be brought to trial in 120 days.

""Now the accused will get seven days to file a plea for acquittal...The judge has to hold the hearing in those seven days and in a maximum time of 120 days, the case would come to trial. There was no time limit for plea bargaining earlier. Now if one accepts their crime within 30 days of the crime then the punishment would be less...There was no provision to present documents during trials. We have made it compulsory to produce all documents within 30 days. No delays will be made in that," Shah added.

"For poor, the biggest challenge to get justice is the financial challenge...For years 'tareekh pe tareekh' keep going. Police hold the judicial system responsible. The government holds the police and judiciary responsible. The police and judiciary hold the government responsible for the delay. Now, we have made many things clear in the new laws," he added.

Shah said in CrPC, there were 484 sections. With these bills, there would now be 531.

"Changes have been made in 177 sections and 9 new sections have been added. 39 new sub-sections have been added. 44 new provisions have been added," he added.

With inputs from PTI, ANI

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