3 new criminal laws: DGP allocates Rs 8 lakh for awareness in J&K

Jammu, 26 February:  In order to make the people of Jammu and Kashmir aware of three new criminal laws, the Director General of Police, J&K, R.R. Swain, has sanctioned over Rs. 8.23 lakh through an order issued by Police Headquarters for conducting awareness programmes across all the districts of the Union territory.

The three new criminal laws – Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA) – which will replace the Indian Penal Code, 1860; Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898; and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, respectively, will come into effect from July 1, 2024.

In a statement issued police said that an amount of over Rs. 8.23 lakh has been sanctioned in favor of 23 districts, including 3 police districts of J&K, for conducting awareness camps/debates aimed at enlightening the general public, especially involving youth from schools/colleges as well as women, regarding these new laws, as per the PHQ order.

To ensure maximum benefit from these awareness programs and to reach the maximum number of people, the district police heads have been directed to conduct these awareness programs at the sub-division levels as well, police said.

“The outgoing laws were made to strengthen and protect British rule, and their purpose was to punish, not to deliver justice. The essence of the three new laws is to protect all the rights given to Indian citizens by the constitution, and their purpose will not be punitive but to deliver justice,” police said.

The new laws, the statement said, include provisions to ensure that not only the accused but also the victims of crime and the society in general receive justice.

“Emphasis has been placed on modernizing the investigation process by utilizing technology. These laws contain provisions to combat terrorism and organized crime more effectively, incorporating advancements in modern and scientific technology to improve the quality of investigations and streamline trial timelines.”

Police said: “Additionally, the laws have provisions for increased punishment for certain offenses. They introduce new offenses, including offenses against the state, organized crime, terrorism-related offenses, mob lynching, non-reporting of rash and negligent acts, crimes of snatching, ATM theft, Ponzi schemes, and leaked question papers.”

Further, statement noted that the new laws expand the definition of documents to include electronic or digital records, emails, server logs, computers, smartphones, laptops, SMS, websites, locational evidence, mails, and messages on devices.

“Provisions have been made to digitize the entire process from FIR to case diary, case diary to charge sheet, and charge sheet to judgment.”

“Videography has been made compulsory at the time of search and seizure, which will be part of the case and will not implicate innocent citizens. Without such recording by the police, no charge sheet will be considered valid.”

Statement said that the provision of e-FIR is being added for the first time. Every district and police station will designate a police officer who will officially inform the family of the arrested person about his arrest online and in person.

“The statement of the victim has been made compulsory in cases of sexual violence, and video recording of the statement has also been made mandatory in cases of sexual harassment.”

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