IPC SECTION NUMBERS CHANGE IN THE NEW PROPOSED CODE
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Context: The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill 2023 aims to modernize and simplify the criminal law of India. It will replace the outdated and colonial-era Indian Penal Code (IPC), which was enacted in 1860 and has been amended several times since then. The BNS will introduce new definitions, classifications, and punishments for various offences, as well as new procedural safeguards and rights for the accused and the victims.
- The proposed Sanhita aims to simplify and modernize the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which was enacted in 1860. The Sanhita is based on the recommendations of the Law Commission of India. The Sanhita seeks to remove archaic and obsolete provisions, introduce new offences and enhance penalties for certain crimes. The Sanhita also tries to make the language of the law more clear and concise.
- One of the major changes that the BNS will bring is the renumbering of some of the most familiar sections of the IPC. These sections have become part of popular culture and discourse, especially in movies, songs, and jokes. For instance, section 302 of the IPC, which prescribes death or life imprisonment for murder, is often referred to as "dafaa 302" in Hindi. Similarly, section 420 of the IPC, which deals with cheating and dishonesty, is synonymous with fraud and deception. And section 376 of the IPC, which defines and punishes rape, is widely used as shorthand for sexual violence.
- However, under the BNS, these sections will have different numbers. This is because the BNS will reorganize and restructure the chapters and sections of the IPC, based on the nature and gravity of the offences.
- The BNS will add new sections to cover emerging crimes such as cybercrime, terrorism, hate speech, etc. Therefore, the old sections of the IPC will not correspond to the new sections of the BNS.
- The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, which will replace the IPC, will have 356 sections instead of the earlier 511 sections, 175 sections have been amended, 8 new sections have been added and 22 sections have been repealed.
IPC Section 420: Cheating
- The proposed Sanhita of 2023 aims to simplify and consolidate the Indian Penal Code and other criminal laws. One of the major changes is the removal of Section 420, which deals with cheating and dishonestly inducing the delivery of property. This section has been widely used and abused in India, often for trivial or frivolous reasons.
- The new Sanhita replaces Section 420 with Section 316, which defines cheating more precisely and proportionately. Section 316 also distinguishes between different degrees of cheating, based on the nature and extent of the harm caused to the victim.
- The maximum punishment for cheating under Section 316 is seven years, which is the same as under Section 420, but the minimum punishment is reduced from one year to six months. This is expected to reduce the misuse of the law and ensure justice for both the accused and the aggrieved parties.
IPC Section 124A: Sedition
- The proposed Sanhita of 2023 proposed the removal of the term "sedition" and the introduction of a new section that deals with "Acts endangering sovereignty, unity and integrity of India". This section is more specific and comprehensive than the IPC Section 124A, which was often used to suppress dissent and criticism of the government.
- The proposed Sanhita increases the maximum punishment for such offences from life imprisonment to seven years and adds the possibility of imposing a fine. It also clarifies the meaning of terms such as "secession", "armed rebellion", "subversive activities" and "separatist activities", which were not defined in the IPC Section 124A.
- The proposed Sanhita thus attempts to balance the need to protect the national security and integrity of India with the right to freedom of expression and opinion of its citizens.
IPC Section 302: Murder
- IPC Section 302 prescribes the punishment for murder: “Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”
- IN PROPOSED BNS, 2023: Section 302 in the proposed Sanhita describes the offence of “Snatching”. Section 302(1) says: “Theft is “snatching” if, to commit theft, the offender suddenly or quickly or forcibly seizes or secures or grabs or takes away from any person or his possession any moveable property.”
- In the proposed Sanhita, murder is covered under Section 99, which identifies the distinction between culpable homicide and murder.
- Punishment for murder is laid down in Section 101, which has two sub-sections.
- Section 101(1) says: “Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”
- Section 101(2) of the proposed Sanhita says: “When a group of five or more persons acting in concert murders on the ground of race, caste or community, sex, place of birth, language, personal belief or any other ground each member of such group shall be punished with death or with imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
- Section 101(2) refers to murder by a group, which would include lynching.
IPC Section 307: Attempt to murder
- IPC Section 307 states that whoever tries to kill another person with the intention or knowledge of doing so, and in such a way that they would be guilty of murder if they succeeded, will be punished with imprisonment for up to ten years and a fine. If the person is injured by the attempt, the offender will face either life imprisonment or the same punishment as above.
- IN PROPOSED BNS, 2023: Section 307 in the proposed Sanhita defines the crime of robbery and the penalty for it. Attempt to murder is included in Section 107 of the proposed Sanhita, which also specifies the penalty for the crime.
IPC Sections 375 and 376: Rape
- The proposed Sanhita, which aims to replace the Indian Penal Code of 1860, has made some changes to the legal definition and punishment of rape. However, it has also retained some controversial aspects of the existing law.
- According to Section 63 of the proposed Sanhita, rape is defined as the acts of sexual intercourse, done against the will or consent of the woman.
- The punishment for rape under the proposed Sanhita is imprisonment for not less than 10 years, which may extend to imprisonment for life and a fine. The fine shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim.
- The proposed Sanhita also retains the exception for marital rape that exists in Section 375 of the IPC. It states that sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his wife, who is not below eighteen years of age, is not rape.
- This exception has been widely criticized by women's rights activists and legal experts, who argue that it violates the constitutional rights of women and perpetuates gender inequality and violence within marriage.
IPC Section 120B: Criminal conspiracy
- The IPC Section 120B defines criminal conspiracy as an agreement between two or more persons to commit an illegal act or a legal act by illegal means. The section also prescribes the punishment for criminal conspiracy, which varies depending on the nature and severity of the offence that is the object of the conspiracy.
- The proposed Bharatiya Naya Sanhita (BNS) has made some changes to the definition and punishment of criminal conspiracy.
- The BNS Section 61(1) defines criminal conspiracy as an agreement to do or cause to be done an illegal act or a legal act by illegal means.
- The BNS Section 61(2) states that the punishment for criminal conspiracy shall be imprisonment for a term which may extend to one-half of the longest term of imprisonment provided for that offence, with a fine, or with both.
- The BNS also introduces a new section, Section 120, which deals with voluntarily causing hurt or grievous hurt on provocation. This section states that whoever voluntarily causes hurt or grievous hurt to any person on grave and sudden provocation given by that person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
IPC Section 505: Statements creating or promoting enmity
- The proposed Sanhita of 2023 aims to simplify and modernize the Indian Penal Code (IPC) of 1860. One of the changes is the removal of section 505, which deals with statements that can cause public mischief or create or promote enmity among different groups.
- The proposed Sanhita introduces section 194, which covers the same offence but with more clarity and specificity. Section 194 defines the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc. as the basis for enmity and also includes acts that are prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony.
- It also prescribes higher punishment for offences committed in places of worship or religious ceremonies, as well as for repeat offenders.
IPC Section 153A: Promoting enmity between different groups
- The proposed Sanhita, 2023, is a draft of a new criminal code for India that aims to simplify and modernize the existing laws. One of the changes that it introduces is the Section 153A in the IPC, which deals with the offence of promoting enmity between different groups based on religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony, is replaced by Section 194 in the proposed Sanhita. This section also includes offences committed in a place of worship or any other place considered sacred by any religious group.
- Section 153 in the proposed Sanhita, defines the offence of receiving property taken by war or depredation mentioned in sections 153 and 154. This section corresponds to Section 412 in the IPC, which deals with dishonestly receiving property stolen in the commission of a dacoity.
- The proposed Sanhita aims to make criminal law more clear, concise and consistent with constitutional values and human rights standards.
IPC Section 499: Defamation
- IPC Section 500 lays down the punishment for defamation: “Whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”
- IN PROPOSED BNS, 2023: The proposed new Sanhita does not have Section 499. The offence of defamation is covered under Section 354 (1) of the new Sanhita. Section 354(2) of the proposed Sanhita describes the punishment for defamation, and includes “community service”. It says: “Whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both or with community service.”
- The new proposed code is expected to bring about a paradigm shift in the criminal justice system of India, by making it more fair, efficient, and responsive to the needs of the people. However, the new code is still in the draft stage and has not been enacted yet. It will require extensive consultations and deliberations with various stakeholders and experts before it can be finalized and passed by the Parliament.
OVERHAUL OF BRITISH-ERA CRIMINAL LAWS: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/overhaul-of-british-era-criminal-laws
Q. Why is there an increasing demand for the reform of the criminal justice system in India? What are the key implications of these reforms, and what significant obstacles hinder their execution? How can strategies be formulated to pave the path forward towards a more equitable and efficient criminal justice system?