Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke about a number of the proposed legislation during the debate on the three criminal code reform bills that the Lok Sabha passed on Wednesday. One of the bills, the Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita Bill, aims to replace the Indian Penal Code.
The bill’s salient provisions include mandatory forensic investigations and set deadlines for police to consider complaints and requests for mercy.
FIRs AND MERCY PETITIONS
Strict deadlines for the police are introduced by the bill. In the event that a complaint is made, the police have three days to file a FIR. Mercy petitions may be filed within 30 days following the court’s final sentence.
Similar to this, the police have 14 days to finish their preliminary investigation and submit a formal complaint (FIR) in cases of major crimes carrying sentences ranging from three to seven years.
Home Minister Amit Shah addressed the Lok Sabha, “Earlier, chargesheets had to be filed within 60-90 days, but many were delayed citing re-investigation. Under the new bill, the police specifically need a court order for further investigation and must file the chargesheet within the prescribed time limit.”
Amit Shah stated under the proposed rules that the accused will have seven days to file an acquittal petition in order to guarantee prompt hearings. The matter will move to trial within a maximum of 120 days after the judge conducts the hearing within those seven days.
Plea negotiations were not time-limited in the past. One will now receive a less sentence if they confess to their crime within 30 days of committing it.
The bill also permits the use of electronic means for gathering evidence and recording statements, as well as introducing a new plan for witness protection.
E-FIR EXCLUSIVELY BUILT FOR WOMEN
An electronic Form FIR has been introduced for female complainants who would prefer not to visit the police station; a police officer will visit the residence within a day.
MANDATED FORENSIC INVESTIGATION
Under the measure, forensic investigation will be required for offenses carrying a minimum sentence of seven years in jail.
A further clause broadens the application of summary trials, particularly in situations where the maximum sentence is three years.
TRIAL IN ABSENTIA
“Because of trial in absentia, all absconders who have been avoiding the legal process in India can be acted against even in their absence. This will help ensure speedy justice and speed up the process of bringing such absconders back to the country,” averred Shah.
“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, the trial will proceed. A public prosecutor will be appointed for their prosecution. It will make the process to bring them back speedy since it changes their status in the other country when they get prosecuted,” continued Shah.
PERSON FACING TRIAL AND UNDERWENT ONE-THIRD PUNISHMENT, TO BE GRANTED BAIL
The new bill also provides for the release of undertrials on bond after they have served one-third of their sentence in jail.
MARRIAGE BASED ON PRETENSE
Home Minister Shah mentioned, “We have brought in a new provision to deal with this. Nobody will be spared who hides his identity and enters into a sexual relationship with someone else on false pretense.”
CUSTODY OR DETENTION
The Home Minister added, “But this can be exercised at any time. If a person is arrested and then due to medical complications was sent to the hospital, then custody will have to be sought again by the court, and during this duration, the court can also grant bail to the person.”