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A New Era in Indian Law: Three New Criminal Laws Set to Take Effect on 1 July 2024

By Venkatasubramanian Srinivasan


India is on the brink of a transformative moment in its legal landscape as it prepares to implement three groundbreaking criminal laws on July 1, 2024. Approved by Parliament on December 21, 2023, and granted assent by President Droupadi Murmu on December 25, 2024, these laws mark a significant departure from colonial-era statutes and signify a step towards modernizing the country’s legal framework.


  1. Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):
    The BNS, or the “Indian Code of Justice,” is poised to redefine offenses and punishments in alignment with contemporary societal needs. Expected to introduce new categories of crimes such as cybercrimes and financial fraud, the BNS will also streamline legal procedures to expedite trials. While anticipated to enhance judicial efficiency, concerns regarding the proportionality of punishments and the need for robust legal safeguards remain.
  1. Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS):
    The BNSS, or the “Indian Citizen Protection Code,” focuses on reforming criminal investigation and trial processes. It is set to refine police investigative powers, trial procedures, and victim protection measures. While aiming to improve the fairness and expediency of criminal proceedings, it will be imperative to ensure adherence to fundamental rights and prevent potential misuse of police authority.
  1. Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA):
    The BSA, or the “Indian Evidence Act,” addresses rules governing evidence presentation and admissibility in court. It may introduce guidelines for electronic evidence, provisions for witness protection, and alterations to the burden of proof framework. Expected to promote an evidence-based approach to criminal trials, striking a balance between accused rights and prosecution effectiveness will be crucial.

As India gears up to usher in these new criminal laws on July 1, 2024, it stands at the threshold of a new legal era. These reforms hold promise in modernizing the criminal justice system, fostering transparency, and upholding the principles of fairness. However, successful implementation will necessitate collaboration among policymakers, law enforcement agencies, legal professionals, and civil society. Continuous evaluation and public discourse will be vital to ensure these laws safeguard fundamental rights and contribute to the evolution of a just and equitable legal system in India.

[The author is a retired international civil servant of the United Nations, presently Founder & Principal Consultant, India i.e., Bharat Knowledge Exchange, and Founder & CEO, Quill & Juris]

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