Highlights

  • Amit Shah introduces redrafted criminal laws bill
  • Amendments to the bill include change in the definition of terrorism
  • T definition of terrorism now includes the word 'economic security'

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Centre redefines terrorism in redrafted criminal laws bill

The Centre has expanded the definion of terrorism in the redrafted criminal laws bill introduced by it in the Lok Sabha on December 12.

Centre redefines terrorism in redrafted criminal laws bill

The government Tuesday introduced in Parliament three redrafted bills to replace the existing criminal laws by including various recommendations made by a parliamentary panel.

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill was introduced first in the Lok Sabha on August 11 along with Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam bills. The three bills seek to replace the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, 1898, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, respectively.

In the reintroduced bills, at least five changes have been made, including in the definition of terrorism.

In the Bharatiya Nyaya (second) Sanhita Bill, the definition of terrorism now includes the word "economic security", among other changes.

"Whoever does any act with the intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, sovereignty, security, or economic security of India or with the intent to strike terror or likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country...," it says.

The bill has brought changes in Section 73, making it punishable to publish the proceedings of a court which may reveal the identity of victims of rape or that of similar offences without the court's permission.

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Section 73 now states, "Whoever prints or publishes any matter in relation to any proceeding before a court with respect to an offence referred to in Section 72 without the previous permission of such court shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine." The printing or publication of the judgment of any High Court or the Supreme Court does not amount to an offence within the meaning of this section, it explains.

Home Minister Amit Shah, in three identical signed statements submitted to Parliament, had said the decision to withdraw the three bills and introduce them afresh was taken after the parliamentary standing committee on home affairs made recommendations suggesting changes in the three bills following a series of discussions with domain experts and various stakeholders.

He had said in the statement for withdrawal that to make comprehensive amendments to the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023, was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 11 to repeal and replace the IPC.

This bill was referred to the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs on August 18 for consideration.

Shah said the committee held several rounds of discussions with the officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Law and Justice, domain experts and various stakeholders and submitted its reports along with its recommendations on November 10.

"Based on the recommendations of the committee, amendments are proposed in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023. It is proposed to introduce a new bill in place of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023," he conveyed to the Parliament.

Two similar statements for withdrawal were also made regarding the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam.

Soon after the bills were introduced in Lok Sabha on August 11, Shah urged the Chair to send the bills to the standing committee for a threadbare discussion.

Subsequently, Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar referred the three proposed laws to the committee, which comes under the Rajya Sabha secretariat, and asked it to submit its report within three months.

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