Maharashtra Police implements 3 new criminal laws from today | Know Overview

Maharashtra Police implements 3 new criminal laws from today | Know Overview

The new laws introduce a multitude of updates.

From today onwards [July 1], Maharashtra will witness a landmark transition in its criminal justice system. The state police is set to implement three new laws: Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), Bhartiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), and Bharatiya Sakshya Act (BSA). These statutes will replace the British-era Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, and Indian Evidence Act, for all cases registered after June 30.

Maharashtra Police's New Criminal Laws: Overview

The key modifications include:

  • Innovative Legal Procedures: Introducing features like Zero FIR, enabling complaints to be filed at any police station, simplifying the initiation of legal proceedings.

  • Technological Advancements: Implementation of online police complaints and electronic summons services to minimise paperwork and improve communication efficiency.

  • Swift Judicial Processes: Enforcing strict timelines for trial judgments within 45 days and framing charges within 60 days to ensure timely dispensation of justice.

  • Protection for Vulnerable Groups: Special provisions for handling crimes against women and children, ensuring sensitive treatment and expedited medical examinations.

  • Expanded Offenses: Updating definitions to include emerging crimes, like false promises of marriage and gang rape of minors, alongside a comprehensive definition of terrorism.

The Bharat New Criminal Laws (BNSS) introduce sweeping changes, including Clause 69, which criminalises deceptive sexual relations like false promises of employment or marriage, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Clause 103 of the BNSS identifies murder based on race, caste, or community as a separate offence, aiming to address Supreme Court directives post-2018 on lynching incidents.

BNSS consolidates offences like terrorism and organised crime, defining organized crime broadly under Clause 111(1) to include economic offences and cyber crimes with severe consequences, pending further clarification.

Clause 304(1) introduces "snatching" as a distinct offence from theft, penalising sudden or forcible property seizure with up to three years in prison.

Clause 187(3) extends police custody to 90 days from the previous 15 days under the CrPC, aiming to expedite trials and adopt a victim-centered approach, amid concerns over potential misuse and impacts on custodial rights.

The Mumbai Police, under Commissioner Vivek Phansalkar, have conducted extensive training sessions, preparing over 9,800 officers and personnel for the new laws. These new statutes are designed to reduce delays in case filing and simplify the official processes for complainants.

"Crime Information Booklet" released

To facilitate this monumental shift, the Maharashtra Police Headquarters has issued a "Crime Information Booklet" and detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to guide officers in handling various offenses. DGP Rashmi Shukla emphasised the importance of this booklet, stating it will help avoid confusion in case registration and investigations. Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Milind Bharambe, who prepared the booklet, has ensured its distribution across all district police units.

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