President Murmu Greenlights New Criminal Code Bills: 5 Key Points

President Droupadi Murmu approves three transformative bills—Bharatiya Sakshya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, and Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita—ushering in a new legal era by replacing the outdated IPC, CrPC, and Evidence Act.

Oshi Saxena
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Image Credits : PTI

The President of India, Droupadi Murmu, gave her assent on Monday to three pivotal bills - The Bharatiya Sakshya Sanhita, 2023, The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023, and The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023. These bills, ushered into law after receiving unanimous approval in both Houses of Parliament during the recently-concluded Winter session, mark a watershed moment in India's legal landscape.


Despite the absence of 97 opposition MPs, who are currently under suspension, the bills sailed through the Lok Sabha, sparking debates and discussions across the political spectrum.

Legislative Background

The genesis of these bills can be traced back to August 11, when they were initially introduced during the monsoon session of Parliament. The trio, known as Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, 2023, were subsequently referred to a department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs for thorough examination. Notably, the committee, headed by Brij Lal, submitted its reports on November 10, paving the way for the bill's reintroduction.

Swift Passage Amidst Parliamentary Dynamics

The bills, which garnered approval through a voice vote in the Rajya Sabha, faced a unique parliamentary backdrop. The absence of over two-thirds of Opposition MPs, suspended due to unruly behaviour while demanding a discussion on the Parliament security breach of December 13, underscored the urgency and significance of these legislative measures.

Prime Minister Modi's Endorsement


Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the passage of these bills as a "watershed moment" in India's history. In a tweet, he expressed that these legislative measures signify the culmination of colonial-era laws, ushering in a new era focused on public service and welfare.

"These transformative Bills are a testament to India's commitment to reform," the Prime Minister stated. He highlights that the legal, policing, and investigative systems are now aligned with the modern era, emphasizing technology and forensic science. Furthermore, the bills aim to provide enhanced protection for the marginalized and vulnerable sections of society.

Amendments and Controversies

Instead of incorporating amendments suggested by the committee, the Central government chose to withdraw the bills, citing the intention to reintroduce them with changes. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, emphasising efficiency, clarified that this strategic move aimed to avoid the lengthy process of passing separate amendments.


Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita, 2023

The revised Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita now comprises 358 sections, reflecting changes from the original 356 sections. Notably, the  absence of the 'sedition' offense, kept in abeyance by the Supreme Court, has been compensated with a provision punishing acts 'endangering sovereignty, unity, and integrity of India.' 

The inclusion of offenses related to organized crime, terrorism, and caste-based or belief-driven murder adds a layer of complexity to the legal framework.

Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita, 2023

The amended Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita boasts 531 sections, introducing innovative concepts like timelines for mercy petitions, witness protection, and the use of electronic modes for recording statements. Noteworthy is the mandatory requirement for forensic investigation in cases with a seven-year imprisonment sentence or more, aiming to enhance the credibility of evidence presented in courts.

Bharatiya Sakshya (Second) Bill, 2023


The Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, with 170 sections, remains unchanged in its essence. However, the absence of amendments in response to concerns raised by some MPs, including the call for the reintroduction of Section 377 of IPC, adds an interesting dimension to the legislative discourse.

Streamlining Legal Processes

The bills address this by introducing measures to expedite legal proceedings, acknowledging the age-old issue of 'tareekh pe tareekh' (date after date) that has haunted the judicial system.

Notably, the amendments bring about a comprehensive overhaul of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). The existing 484 sections have been expanded to 531, with significant modifications and additions. Shah emphasised that 177 sections have been amended, accompanied by the addition of 9 new sections and 39 sub-sections. This extensive reform is poised to streamline legal processes and enhance the efficiency of the criminal justice system.

Key Highlights:

  • Trial in Absentia: A progressive provision for cases where accused individuals are abroad.
  • Timely Trials: Cases to be brought to trial within 120 days, ensuring swift justice.
  • Plea Bargaining: Introduction of a time limit for filing a plea for acquittal, enhancing efficiency.
  • Document Submission: Mandatory submission of all documents within 30 days, minimising delays.

The assent of the President to the Bharatiya Sakshya Sanhita, 2023, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita Bill, 2023, and Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, marks a significant milestone in India's legal history. 

Lok Sabha IPC CrPC Evidence Act