Implementation of New Criminal Laws in J&K

On July 1st 2024 , in a landmark event at the Police Headquarters in Srinagar, J&K LG Shri Manoj Sinha presided over the implementation ceremony of three new criminal laws: the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam. This significant moment marks a departure from the colonial legal framework that has governed India for centuries. In his address, he expressed his gratitude to honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and honourable Home Minister Shri Amit Shah for their roles in bringing about these essential reforms. He highlighted that these new laws aim to ensure justice and equality for all, moving away from repressive colonial measures. Rooted in the principles of liberty and fraternity, the reforms are designed to protect the vulnerable and uphold justice for all. The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita replaces the Indian Penal Code of 1860, focusing on restorative justice and victim rights. This new law shifts the emphasis from punishment to rehabilitation and reintegration, addressing the root causes of crime and offering offenders a chance to reform and contribute positively to society. The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita, which replaces the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973, aims to ensure swift and fair trials. It introduces measures to reduce delays in the justice delivery system, emphasising the protection of the rights of the accused while ensuring public safety. The Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam replaces the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, modernising evidence collection and use. This law incorporates modern technology to ensure the accuracy and integrity of evidence, introducing digital documentation and forensic advancements to strengthen the credibility of the judicial process. He also highlighted the overarching objectives of these new laws, which are based on individual freedom and human rights. Designed to protect victim rights and ensure justice with a focus on human dignity, the new laws acknowledge that every individual has the potential for change. They emphasise restorative justice, aiming to repair the harm caused by criminal behavior and reintegrate offenders into society. The new criminal laws also address contemporary issues like terrorism, sedition, and mob lynching, ensuring a just, humane, and future-ready system. By incorporating technological advancements, these laws aim to enhance the efficiency and transparency of the justice system, including the use of digital tools for evidence collection, case management, and communication among the five pillars of the criminal justice system. He also underscored the importance of vigilance regarding the potential misuse of technology, which could undermine the justice system. He spoke about the substantial investment in infrastructure and training required to integrate forensic technology and digital procedures. Ensuring data security and protecting individual privacy are paramount, and robust systems are needed to safeguard citizens and foster peace and development. On this occasion, LG Shri Manoj Sinha called for collective efforts to realise the full potential of the new reforms and ensure that justice is served efficiently and equitably. He emphasised the need for all stakeholders in the criminal justice system to work collaboratively to nurture these new laws. The challenge of training personnel across all verticals has been accomplished, with the J&K Police playing a crucial role in training their core investigation officers, augmenting resources, and adapting to technological and legal changes. He further stressed the importance of generating awareness about the new laws among citizens, law enforcement agencies, legal professionals, district administration officials, academia, and students. He congratulated the Jammu Kashmir Police on registering the first FIR under the provisions of the new laws. Honourable Chief Justice of the J&K and Ladakh High Court, Sh. Justice N. Kotiswar Singh, also addressed the gathering, describing the new criminal laws as a reflection of a resurgent and confident India building its destiny based on its rich heritage. He advised the Vice Chancellors of various universities present to conduct awareness sessions on the new laws in their institutions.

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