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Difference between Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita and IPC

Difference between Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita and IPC

Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita 

On the 1st of July 2024, three new laws came into force, one of which was the Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS). This new law replaced the old Indian Penal Code (IPC), which had been in place since 1860 during the British colonial period. The BNS is intended to modernize and update the legal framework, addressing contemporary challenges, aligning the penal code with current societal norms, and incorporating technological advancements.

The BNS aims to introduce new offenses reflecting modern crimes such as cybercrime, update the language of the IPC, and enhance the procedural aspects of the criminal justice system. It also focuses on a victim-centric approach, simplified legal provisions, and the use of gender-neutral language. Additionally, the BNS emphasizes the rehabilitation of offenders, includes provisions for handling digital evidence, and aims to create a more inclusive and equitable legal framework.

The introduction of the BNS represents a significant step in the evolution of Indian criminal law, aiming to create a more responsive, transparent, and fair justice system for all citizens.

How Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita is different from IPC ?

Positive Change

The recent introduction of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) has brought about significant legal reforms. These changes encompass progressive alterations in criminal law, contemporary terminology updates, a focus on gender equality, and measures to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.

Firstly, under the progressive alterations, BNS has incorporated Section 69, which specifically addresses sexual activity under false pretenses or through deceit, carrying a potential sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment, alongside a fine. Moreover, terrorism and terrorist acts have been formally defined and criminalized under Section 111, aimed at safeguarding the unity, integrity, and security of India. Additionally, the inclusion of a new provision on ‘snatching’ and explicit provisions for mob lynching demonstrate a concerted effort to address and deter such criminal activities.

Furthermore, the update to contemporary terminology in BNS replaces outdated and insensitive language with more apt and respectful phrases, such as “person with mental illness” in place of previous derogatory terms.

In terms of an emphasis on gender equality, BNS expands the prohibition of importing individuals for unrestrained sexual activity to include boys under 18, demonstrating a commitment to equal treatment under the law.

Conclusively, these reforms reflect a substantive shift towards a more equitable and stringent legal framework, aiming to promote sensitivity, equality, and justice within the legal sphere.

New Provision In Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) has been revised to incorporate Section 69, a new provision addressing crimes against women and children. The amended legislation now encompasses more stringent sexual offense laws, encompassing heightened penalties for rape, the potential application of the death penalty for gang rape of minors, protection of victims’ identities, and the addition of a new provision tailored to offenses against women and children. Notably, BNS has introduced the concept of community service as an alternative penalty for less severe infractions under Section 4, whereby offenders may be required to perform unpaid work in lieu of incarceration.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) proposes several specific adjustments in various parts, as follows:

1. Public Employees Who Violate Legal Obligations

Section 200 of BNS, corresponding to Section 168 of the IPC, states that a public employee who violates their legal obligation to refrain from engaging in trade may be punished with a fine, simple imprisonment for up to one year, both, or community service. Defamation offenses are penalized by a short imprisonment sentence of up to two years, a fine, or both, or community service under Section 354 of BNS, similar to Section 499 of the IPC.

2. Community Service for Attempted Suicide

BNS allows for community service as a form of retribution in cases of attempted suicide. If a 24-hour imprisonment sentence is not imposed, community service may be the punishment for those accused of causing a public disturbance while under the influence of alcohol. Therefore, BNS broadens the scope of penalties by allowing community service as a punishment, which may be used instead of incarceration for several minor violations.

3. Repeal and Replacement of Sedition Law

The most significant feature of the BNS proposal is the objective to repeal the sedition legislation. However, Section 150 of the BNS will retain certain sections from the current sedition law intended to handle actions that jeopardize India’s sovereignty, unity, and integrity. According to Section 150 of the BNS, individuals who incite or attempt to incite secession, armed rebellion, subversive activities, or promote separatist sentiments, thereby endangering the sovereignty, unity, or integrity of India, may be subject to punishment ranging from a seven-year prison sentence to life in prison, along with a fine.

4. Negative Consequences and Unresolved Problems

While many changes made by the BNS are beneficial, some serious issues have arisen, and others remain unresolved.

Uncertainty Regarding Community Service: The addition of community service as a sanction by the BNS is a promising development. However, the Bill needs to clearly define what constitutes community service to avoid future sentencing disagreements. It is challenging to avoid future sentence discrepancies because there is currently no precise definition. In some instances, unusual forms of community service have been required; for example, individuals were asked to donate to a cow refuge, distribute copies of the Quran, or volunteer at a temple. It is also possible that further directives with similar religious or potentially dangerous implications may arise, even though some of these directives were later overturned. Therefore, it would be beneficial to prepare a list of potential community service projects or establish rules for appropriate behavior in this regard.

Gender Neutrality in Rape and Sexual Assault Cases

Progress toward gender neutrality in rape and sexual assault cases has been inadequate recognizing that people of all genders, including men, women, and transgender people, can commit and be victims of these crimes is a crucial component of gender neutrality in rape and sexual assault laws.

Law for Transgender People in India

A private member’s bill to gender-neutralize Indian criminal laws was introduced in 2019. However, the BNS continues to classify solely women as rape and sexual assault victims while designating men as perpetrators in the same circumstances, much like the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

A paradigm shift in India’s criminal justice system is anticipated due to the new proposed law, which will make it more equitable, effective, and responsive to the populace’s demands. The new code still needs to be implemented and is still in the draft stage. The suggested revisions to the Bhartiya Nyaya Sanhita represent an effort to modernize the Indian legal system to meet current issues better and increase its efficacy. Before the Parliament can finish and approve it, it must undergo extensive discussions and consultations with several stakeholders and experts.

Conclusion of Difference between Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita and IPC

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) both serve as comprehensive legal documents governing criminal law in India, but there are several notable differences between them. Here are the key distinctions:

1. Structural Reforms and Modernization:

– The BNS aims to modernize and streamline the legal framework laid out in the IPC, which was enacted in 1860 during British rule. It addresses contemporary issues and societal changes that have occurred over the years.

2. Inclusion of New Offenses:

– BNS introduces new categories of offenses and criminalizes activities that were not explicitly covered under the IPC, such as cybercrimes, organized crime, and offenses against the environment.

3. Victim-Centric Approach:

– The BNS places a greater emphasis on the rights and protection of victims. It includes provisions for victim compensation and support, ensuring a more humane approach to criminal justice.

4. Simplification and Clarity:

– The language of the BNS is designed to be more accessible and easier to understand compared to the archaic and complex terminology used in the IPC. This makes the law more approachable for the general public and legal practitioners alike.

5. Enhanced Penalties and Sentencing:

– The BNS revises and, in many cases, increases the penalties for various crimes to reflect the seriousness of modern offenses and act as a stronger deterrent.

6. Procedural Reforms:

– There are procedural changes in the BNS aimed at expediting the judicial process and reducing delays in the criminal justice system. This includes changes in the way investigations are conducted and how trials are managed.

7. Alignment with International Standards:

– The BNS aligns more closely with international human rights standards and obligations, ensuring that India’s criminal laws are in harmony with global norms and practices.

8. Incorporation of Technological Advancements:

– Recognizing the impact of technology on crime and justice, the BNS includes specific provisions for dealing with digital evidence, cybercrimes, and electronic surveillance.

In summary, while the IPC laid the foundational framework for criminal law in India, the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita represents a significant evolution towards a more modern, comprehensive, and victim-oriented legal system. It reflects the changing societal norms, technological advancements, and the need for a more efficient judicial process, positioning India’s criminal justice system to meet the demands of the 21st century better.

Also Read: 
Rights of undertrial prisoners in India
How To Send A Legal Notice In India

Shreya Sharma
Shreya Sharma
As a passionate legal student , I am thrilled to embark on a promising internship in the realm of law articles. Through my writing, I am determined to unravel the intricate complexities of the legal world and make a meaningful impact. This is my opportunity to combine theory and practice, and I am ready to take on the challenge with enthusiasm and dedication.
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