Watershed moment in history, says PM Modi as BJP leaders hail the passing of criminal justice Bills

"These Bills mark the end of colonial-era laws. A new era begins with laws centred on public service and welfare," the Prime Minister said.

BySouth First Desk

Published Dec 22, 2023 | 4:30 PMUpdatedDec 22, 2023 | 4:30 PM

The new Parliament building. (Creative Commons)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, 21 December, hailed the passage of the three Bills, which replace many colonial-era laws, as a watershed moment in India’s history and said it marked the beginning of a new era with laws centred on public service and welfare.

Three new Bills that seek to overhaul the colonial-era criminal laws, making punishments more stringent for crimes such as terrorism, lynching, and offences endangering national security, were approved by Parliament on Thursday, 21 December.

The Bills were passed in the Rajya Sabha by voice vote. The Lok Sabha had approved these on Wednesday.

‘Transformative Bills’

“Through them, we have also bid goodbye to the outdated sections on sedition,” he said on X after Parliament gave its nod to the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam.

“These Bills mark the end of colonial-era laws. A new era begins with laws centred on public service and welfare,” the Prime Minister said.

He added, “These transformative Bills are a testament to India’s commitment to reform. They bring our legal, policing, and investigative systems into the modern era with a focus on technology and forensic science. These Bills ensure enhanced protection for the poor, marginalised and vulnerable sections of our society.”

These Bills, the Prime Minister said, come down heavily on organised crime, terrorism and such offences which strike at the root of the country’s peaceful journey to progress.

‘New era in criminal justice’

“In our Amrit Kaal, these legal reforms redefine our legal framework to be more relevant and empathy-driven,” he said, highlighting speeches by Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament which, he added, elaborate on the key features of these Bills.

The Bills would usher in a new era in the criminal justice system, Home Minister Amit Shah said while replying to a debate in the Upper House of Parliament.

These Bills repeal and replace the Indian Penal Code of 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1898 and the Indian Evidence Act of 1872.

Replying to the debate, Shah said once the new criminal laws were implemented, the entire process — from FIR to judgment — would go online.

Their implementation would ensure the end of the “tareekh pe tareekh” era and justice will be delivered in three years, he said.

Elaborating on the new provisions, Shah said terrorism has been defined and mob lynching made punishable with capital punishment.

Also, stringent punishment has been prescribed for those who work against the country, he said.

Related: ‘Opportunity to replace, redraft colonial criminal laws wasted’

‘No rajdroh but deshdroh’

Hailing the passing of the Bills, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman said, “We removed the 19th-century laws, made and approved by the colonial masters. The focus now is on Justice & not just punishment, women and children. Freedom of speech ensured. No Rajdroh but deshdroh. A milestone.”

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, said, “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government is continuously working towards making new laws by abolishing the obsolete laws.”

He added, “The effective and logical manner in which Home Minister Amit Shah has responded in the House to the discussion on these three bills cannot be appreciated enough. For this, I heartily congratulate him and congratulate the Prime Minister for starting to make new laws for the new India.”

Also read: LS passes revised criminal reform Bills as 97 Oppn MPs suspended

(With PTI inputs)