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Union Home Minister Amit Shah Unveils New Justice-Oriented Criminal Laws

New Delhi: Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation, Amit Shah, today announced the implementation of three new criminal laws across the country, describing them as justice-oriented and victim-centric. Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Shah emphasized that the new laws prioritize justice over punishment, ensure speedy trials, and protect the rights of victims. He noted that the laws have been meticulously crafted with extensive discussions involving various stakeholders over the past four years.

Shah highlighted that after 77 years of independence, India’s criminal justice system is becoming completely indigenous, with the new laws now operational in every police station nationwide. He stated that these laws shift focus from mere punishment to justice and prompt resolution, ensuring the protection of victims’ and complainants’ rights alongside those of the police.

“The three new laws reflect the Indian spirit in our criminal justice system,” said Shah. He elaborated on the removal of many outdated provisions from British colonial rule and the introduction of relevant new sections. The laws prioritize crimes against women and children, with 35 sections and 13 provisions dedicated to this cause. For the first time, mob lynching has been defined and severe penalties established, while the outdated sedition law has been abolished in favor of a new section addressing anti-national activities.

Shah assured that the new laws aim to create the most modern judicial system, incorporating current and future technologies. He stated that 99.9% of police stations have been computerized, with processes like Zero-FIR, e-FIR, and digital charge sheets becoming standard. The laws also set deadlines for the completion of all procedures, ensuring justice up to the Supreme Court within three years from filing an FIR.

The Home Minister noted the mandatory inclusion of forensic investigations for offenses punishable by seven years or more, which will expedite justice and increase the conviction rate to 90%. He mentioned the establishment of the National Forensic Science Laboratory in 2020 and the anticipated 40,000 trained forensic personnel in three years. Additionally, campuses of the Forensic Science University and six Central Forensic Laboratories are being set up in nine more states.

The Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023 leverages technology in evidence gathering, enhancing the credibility of electronic evidence such as server logs, location data, and voice messages. The laws will be available in all languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, and court proceedings will also be conducted in these languages.

Shah commended the efforts of the Ministry of Home Affairs, state Home Departments, and the Ministry of Justice in implementing these laws. He highlighted the training of over 23,000 Master Trainers, surpassing the target of 12,000, to educate approximately 22.5 lakh policemen. Additionally, 21,000 subordinate judiciary officials and 20,000 public prosecutors have been trained.

Shah addressed misconceptions about the laws, stating that discussions in the Lok Sabha lasted 9 hours and 29 minutes with 34 members participating, while the Rajya Sabha saw 6 hours and 17 minutes of discussion with 40 members participating. He refuted claims that the laws were passed after the expulsion of certain members of Parliament, clarifying that these members had the option to return and participate in the discussion but chose not to.

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